//FIJI's Top cop backs force's multi-cultural face

FIJI's Top cop backs force's multi-cultural face

Police commissioner Andrew Hughes and wife, Vicki, at the police Ramayan Sammelan in Ba yesterday

Police commissioner Andrew Hughes and wife, Vicki, at the police Ramayan Sammelan in Ba yesterday

FIJI TIMES ONLINE , Monday, August 28, 2006

POLICE Commissioner Andrew Hughes believes the strength of the force lays in its cultural and religious diversity.

He made the comment when he launched the 16th Police Rama-yan Sammelan in Ba yesterday.

Mr Hughes said when he joined the force three years ago, he knew he was being presented with an opportunity that he would never have in Australia.

Mr Hughes said he immediately realised that the force had officers from a diverse range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

He said he viewed it as the force's strength because it reflected the diversity that existed within the nation.

He said one aspect of the force that he really appreciated was the tolerance and respect all officers paid to the various religious beliefs of colleagues.

He said belief in a higher order united all officers despite being part of different faiths.

Mr Hughes said religion provided officers with a way to cope with their demanding roles.

"In order to cope with the job, we need strategies like faith to restore order in the lives of police officers," he said.

"It enables them to reconcile with the things that officers see and others don't."

The diversity within the force is a way of leading by example as we show the public a unified and harmonious force regardless of different backgrounds," said Mr Hughes.

"It is very good to see officers working shoulder to shoulder and respecting all the different faiths," he said.

The Police Ramayan Sammelan is a religious occasion where all Hindu officers from throughout the country gather and recite the scriptures of the Ramayan.

The annual occasion is also a way for Hindu officers to come together and meet, boosting morale within the force.

Ba Police Mandali president, Sergeant Keshwan Naidu said the force was fortunate to have a commander of such a high calibre.

Sergeant Naidu said the respect shown by Mr Hughes for the various religions of his officers was boosted morale for the betterment of the force.

He said the Sammelan that was held at the Shree Devi Maha Mariamman Temple in Navatu, Ba, yesterday was to unite officers religiously but also strengthen them spiritually through the act of togetherness.