Deputy Commissioner challenges Samoa to end violence against women

The first woman to hold one of the highest ranked positions in the Police force has called on everyone to come together to find solutions to end violence against women.

She has also encouraged other women graduating from different institutions to consider a career in the Police.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Papali'i Monalisa Tiai-Keti, made the call during the celebration of the International Women’s Day on Friday.

“This is an opportunity to highlight challenges faced by women and girls in villages such as violence,” she said.

Papali'i, who hails from Sapapali'i, Savai'i, added that the number of court cases involving violence against women has increased.

“I believe that we can all work together to find solutions to solve these problems.”

She joined the Police Service in 2004 after completing the Police Basic Recruit Course as a young female Constable.

“I started work at the Police station after I attained Bachelor in Social Science from the Waikato University.”

She is a former Samoa College student and holds a Master’s Degree in Transnational Crime from the University Of Wollongong, New South Wales in Australia.

“Police work is commonly known as a man’s work however, with evolving times and changes policing work is not only for men but also women. I believe that a woman can do the work of a police officer speaking from experience if there is determination and hard work.

To date there are 668 Police officers in the Samoa Police Service. Only 174 of that number are female, which is 26 per cent of the Police force.

“This year is the first time we have more women who are undergoing the Police recruit course that want to be officers. There are 44 in the class but 28 are women.

“We are very happy with this great improvement because women have in their mentality that they can also be police officer.”

In 2018, Papalii became the first female Deputy Commissioner in the history of Police for Samoa.

“There are so many people who have graduated from universities that do not consider becoming a Police officer.

“I also had that mentality when I returned from New Zealand after my studies. I used to have a dream to become a lawyer when I was in high school but our thoughts are not God’s will."

When she started work with the police, she faced so many challenges such as not many senior police officers accepting young officers who graduated from universities like herself.

“In the history of the Police force, the majority of officers who choose this field have not achieved university education qualifications. It was like policing was the type of work that you choose when you cannot work in other higher Government departments.

“At times, I thought of giving up and finding another job but I guess it was God’s will.”

Papali'i added that after being through various divisions in police, she realised that there are so many different opportunities for women.

She advised students to prioritise education.

“There will be many opportunities after studies and at the moment I am working and pursuing more educational qualifications by currently pursuing a Law Degree at the University of the South Pacific at Alafua."

Papali'i has worked in various sections of the Police Force including the Criminal Investigation Division, Human Resources, Policy and Planning and the Transnational Crime Unit.


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