POLICE Constable David Tipasua Tepai, 42, from Lavagu Village on Rennell Island in the Rennell and Bellona province has faced numerous challenges during his 14 years as a police officer but the challenges have given him the courage and confidence to continue serving the people of Solomon Islands through the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
PC Tepai is currently working as a coordinator on acting basis at the Tigoa Police Station in West Rennell, Rennell Bellona province.
As a Form five leaver of Bishop Epalle Catholic School in Honiara and former teacher, PC Tepai decided to switch careers after an absence of police officers in his community of Lavagu on West Rennell.
“I was employed by the Rennell and Bellona Provincial Education Authority as a primary school teacher on Fixed Term Appointment basis in 2004. In 2007 I decided to join the RSIPF as there was no police officer in my community while there were many primary and secondary teachers.”
“My aim of joining the RSIPF was to serve my people, my community and my country. I wanted to contribute to a safe, secure and a peaceful environment for my people,” says PC Tepai.
He was recruited into the RSIPF in 2007 and after his two-year probation, he attended a prosecutors training and was posted to the Police Prosecution Directorate (PPD) in Honiara and worked as a police prosecutor for eight years.
PC Tepai was transferred to general duties in Honiara City’s Central Police Station to allow him to experience other areas of policing. He served there for two years.
“During my time so far in the RSIPF I encountered many challenges, some were organizational, operational, community-related and personal. The challenges sometimes threatened my health, well-being and family, but these challenges gave me the courage and confidence to continue to deliver my duties as a police officer.”
He adds, “As a police prosecutor I encountered challenges including working long hours to meet the expectations of the court, qualified defence lawyers, victims of crime and my superiors.”
“In general duties and provincial policing, I have encountered people with different cultures, characters, attitudes and behaviours. Sometime I faced life-threatening situations, but with some courage and my previous experiences, I overcame the challenging situations. I have heard people criticising police and read it on social media, but I look at these criticisms as challenges when carrying out my duties.”
To his colleague officers, PC Tepai has this to say, “We are working in a disciplined organisation, and we are here to serve our people in a professional manner. The public expects a lot from us. They want us to be fair and honest. The public wants to trust us.”
According to PC Tepai, law enforcers are the most hated public servants in the world.
“But remember no matter how much people hate police, they need police more than how they hate them. We should be a shining example of professionalism in our country.”
To those who want to pursue policing as a career PC Tepai says, “Continue to pursue your dream because members of your family and friends will be proud of you and respect you.”