Fiji police should not be armed with taser guns - opposition

Fiji's opposition says police should never be armed with taser guns or any weapons designed to kill people.

Last week, the police commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho said the use of taser guns was being looked at following revelations there had been over 120 cases of officers being seriously assaulted this year.

But the president of the National Federation Party, Pio Tikoduadua, says he's surprised police were unable to defend themselves with the batons and pepper spray they currently carry.

He says while officers should not be used as "punching bags", police with taser guns will only 'aggravate an already tense state of affairs'.

"It's not a good plan and actually it's escalating the situation. The thing is for the police to look at themselves as a force and see what is it that they're doing wrong that's causing the people to come at them the way that they are?"

Mr Tikoduadua said he believed police were antagonising the public rather than the people breaking the law.

He said officers needed to be trained well to be able to deal with situations that had caused concern recently.

He called on the force to work on improving their image instead of arming officers with taser guns which they did not need.

"The police are confused about their identity just looking at the way they relate with the public," he said.

"The force is almost stubborn about their public image - it's not worried what people would think about how they behave and look.

Mr Tikoduadua said the police seemed more worried about protecting themselves than protecting the people.

"They need to look inward, to look at their role under the Constitution and at the laws that apply to them.

"They should really be upholding the law - to discharge their duties they should look at it as civil police."

Mr Tikoduadua said the Fiji Police Force seemed unsure of its identity and warned it was coming under a lot of military influence.

"Whether be militaristic in the way they perform their duties or whether they should be civil about it.

"They should go back to their traditional role - the police should be the police, the police is not the military."