Kiribati Update

SOLE 2

I was last in Kiribati in February and as is usual I was pleased to return and catch up with colleagues and friends.

The first thing that struck me was the energy and excitement in addressing family violence shown by the team at the Family Assistance and Sexual Offences Unit (the FASO). The office had a smart and professional appearance and there was a determination from the team to involve themselves in cases and issues facing the community around domestic violence.

A big thank you to Sergeant Okky and her team. I know that Kim Bloomfield had some very favourable comments to make about the speed with which the team learnt the new reporting system.

The recent launch of the Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse survey results has produced a desire amongst the community and in particular the Police to address this important social issue.  The support and backing of Acting Commissioner Iotita is appreciated by the mentor and PPDVP and has provided the necessary leadership to move forward.

We know this is a sensitive issue to discuss and is easily left to be considered ‘family business.’ We also know that no citizen of Kiribati should live a life of fear or abuse – particularly in their own home.

Acting Commissioner Iotita put it very well when he spoke to the NCOs who attended the workshop to increase their learning and understanding of investigating domestic violence by referring to the survey. “We must be worried and concerned, given the core functions of the Police are preserving peace, law and order.   That includes the Police’s obligation to ensure that the people are safe and secure both at home and in the street.”

The O/C Tarawa wore a white ribbon to the same ceremony and spoke of its significance to policing.

The first week saw me working with the NCOs at a workshop at the Police Training School. We had some excellent discussions around leadership and responsibilities for NCOs to role model the correct behaviours in all areas of their working and home life. The feedback was positive and I look forward to them working alongside FASO and Community Policing to address Domestic Violence in Tarawa and the Outer Islands.

We took time out to play the ‘Frigates’ v ‘Kiwi’s’ soccer match – which turned into a game of touch rugby. They have the bug now and I am required to return with an oval ball. Given the coral sand I suspect tackle rugby is going to struggle. In the heat touch rugby is challenging enough – especially for this chap.

One of the key events was a workshop for middle managers where we worked on the beginnings of a strategic plan for the KPS. It was a process I thoroughly enjoyed. We took the step of introducing our ideas and learnings from police services from New Zealand, other South Pacific countries and the rest of the world. The choice was then left to the workshop to decide if they wanted or needed a strategic plan. They endorsed the need and we began a process of healthy debate and discussion.

For me the highlight was the development of the KPS Vision. It linked in key elements of those matters that are so important to Kiribati. These were brainstormed by the participants. I believe the unanimous feel of the group was that they had developed a ‘vision’ they were justifiably proud of.

Vision

Current KPS Vision: A modern, proactive and responsive police agency providing quality police services to the community of I Kiribati.

KPS Domestic Violence Strategy Vision: Kiribati homes free of domestic violence where families are happy, healthy, prosperous, living in peace and are supportive of each other and their communities.

Te Utu ae kakukurei bon mwengan te I-Kiribati ae akea te kiriwe iai, e marurung raoi ba e boutokaaki iai te tangira, te aroaro ma te reitaki ae tamaroa iroura n tatabemaniira nako ma te botan aomata inanon Te Mauri, Te Raoi ao Te Tabomoa.

(English Translation): Happy family is the home of I Kiribati, free of violence, healthy supported by love, good relationships with each other, within the community through health peace and prosperity.

Acting Commissioner Iotita Kuarawete and Sergeant Okoro Iuka were invited to attend as observers, at the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting held in Fiji. 

AC Kuarawete gave a very good presentation on the state of the Kiribati Police in general and an overview of all statistics downloaded from the CMIS database on Domestic Violence Incident reports that the FASO unit has dealt with since being set up in 2006.

Sergeant Jim Sole
Kiribati Mentor

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