Methodist Church President Reverend Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa says they have pledged to work with police in an effort to reduce the high number of Methodist church members convicted of criminal acts.
Rev Vakadewavosa says they know that majority of the convicted people belong to the church.
He says they have been using their sermons to teach people to get away from committing crime.
Rev Vakadewavosa says this paints a bad picture of us as a nation.
He says the Methodist Church Ministers Intensive In-Service Training is a workshop where they are trying to address social issues.
Statistics released by the Fiji Corrections Service indicate that there were 1,739 inmates in our prisons between June and July in 2016 out of which 468 were Methodists.
Meanwhile, Acting Commissioner of Police, Rusiate Tudravu is pleading with Methodist Church Ministers in the North to work with police by knowing what is happening around them and delivering targeted sermons and programs to help prevent criminal activities.
Tudravu highlighted this while speaking at the church’s Northern Division Ministers Intensive In-Service Training.
He says the five most prevalent criminal activities in the Northern Division over the past four years include burglary and aggravated robbery, theft, assault, drug and sexual offences.
Tudravu says the prevalent offender age groups were between 18 to 35 years old.
He says police are reaching out to church leaders to help tackle crimes as they were at the receiving end after the crime had been committed and there was a need to address why these crimes were committed.
The Acting Police Commissioner says the purpose of presenting the statistics specifically on issues affecting the Northern Division was for the Church Ministers to know the prevalent crimes occurring close to where they were serving.
Tudravu says crimes are committed by those who are conflicted and have lost a sense of right and wrong and the Church plays a significant role in nurturing an individual’s moral compass to stay on the right path and avoid falling onto the wrong side of the law.
He says church leaders are highly respected members of the community and have a major influence in their members' lives.
Tudravu says in any community especially in communal settings, people turn to the Talatala for guidance and direction in the absence of the village head.
Tudravu says this is why they are reaching out to the Methodist Church and all church leaders in Fiji, to help fight crime.
The Methodist Church’s Northern Division Ministers Intensive In-Service Training was held at the Nasea Methodist Church where the Fiji Police Force was given the opportunity to speak to Ministers on issues concerning the criminal landscape in the Northern Division.
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