Police officers reflect on tough 2020

The Minister of Police, Prisons and Corrections has described this year as a challenging 12 months due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Speaking at a thanksgiving service at the Tanoa Hotel on Monday, Tialavea Tionision Hunt said the pandemic made 2020 a challenging year together with the merger of the Ministry of Police and Prisons as well as the addition of vehicle registration and licensing, which previously came under the Land Transport Authority.

Nevertheless he said it is his belief that the Ministry has come a long way and they will continue to improve their services to meet the needs of the Samoan people.

The Minister used the opportunity to thank their partners Australian Federal Police and the Australian Defence Force for their support.

"It's an honor as Minister of Police and Prisons to work alongside you guys thank you," he said.

Acknowledging the arrival of the festive season and the Government and Ministry shutting down for the holiday period, Tialavea said he knows they will continue to work to provide vital services.

"To all our men and women, thank you all for your services to the people of Samoa. God Bless Samoa and God Bless the Police, Prison and Correction Services. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”

Police Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, when asked to confirm if he thought the same way of this year, told the Samoa Observer that he’s had his own challenges that he has had to overcome.

"I've been challenged more. Like what happened to me in the beginning, I think that's the most challenging personally for me,” he added.

"But you know these kinds of things, we expect it so the best thing to do is prepare to have some operating plans in the books already saved up, when it does happen that you have some direction on what to do and how you're going to coordinate massive workforce and respond throughout this country to try and provide safety to all of our staff.”

And looking at police operations more broadly around the world, Fuiavaili'ili said he has interacted with colleagues in other countries and they all agree it has been a tough year.

"It's been a tough year, all round. I talked to my friends and other folks in my category and our line of work in Australia and New Zealand, United States. 

“It's been a tough year for everyone so it's not just Samoa and I'm very grateful that we didn't get a cyclone here, we didn't lose any lives but it's been a busy year for us.”

The Commissioner added that the demand for their services continues to increase and he understands that it is part of their job to respond. 

He said that as long as they do the right thing such as working hard, being smart about everything they do and forecast what is coming while having plans already figured out on how to respond.

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