Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho stood by his men who damaged a vehicle belonging to the force yesterday morning, saying the reasons and cost of the damage could be justified.
The four-wheel drive vehicle sustained damage to its fender after officers in it chased a group of men in a vehicle, who allegedly robbed two people on Victoria Parade and made off with mobile phones and other items at about 5am.
A police report said the chase ended up at MacGregor Road and the police vehicle was involved in a collision with an oncoming vehicle.
The four men were arrested at the spot and are now in custody with the stolen items recovered.
Speaking during the closing of the Police motorcyclists’ course at the ANZ Stadium car park yesterday, Brigadier-General Qiliho said most accidents that involved Police vehicles had been either through negligence or unauthorised runs.
He said yesterday’s accident was one instance where he could hold his head up and ask for a replacement from the Government because the damage was caused through an operation.
Brigadier-General Qiliho said while he had a strong stand against officers involved in motor vehicle accidents, the incident yesterday morning was warranted in light of the work the officers were carrying out.
“This morning I was a very happy commissioner not because we have an accident, but because the accident was a result of pursuing criminals who were caught red handed with the loot they have taken out and they were all arrested,” he said.
“So I can go to Government and justify the reasons and costs of damage.
“If we have accidents while doing our work for operational reasons it makes me feel good.”