FORMER Police Commissioner Matthew Varley has urged the police force to address the epidemic of non communicable diseases in the country.
He made this appeal at his final parade at Rove when honouring fallen and late police officers who have died as a result of NCD.
Also speaking at a special conference with reporters, Varley said he had attended too many police funerals in the Solomon Islands.
“I have attended more funerals in Solomons than I have in Australia to be frank,” Mr Varley said.
“……but I think unfortunately Australia has the benefit of a better health system and this is something I wish Solomon Islands also had,” he further added.
Varley said one of the sentimental things that had upset him personally during his time as commissioner is when they lost police officers.
“……..officers who passed away suddenly and under circumstances where we really shouldn’t have lost them,” he added.
He said he always found that tough looking at families who lost their loved ones.
Varley said one of the common things he noticed in the RSIPF which he thinks is unfortunately broader across the community is poor health by officers.
The former police chief said he had seen young men; men in their 40’s who are not very old die of heart conditions.
“We have high rates of non-communicable diseases like in the police just like the community.
“And then I have seen cases where some very good people here are at work one day and they collapse and passed away and that is very sad, the next day.
“And I have also seen cases where very young officers, male and female have passed away from medical conditions unfortunately and sadly because the right medical treatment was not available at that time.
“Now I find that personally tough because I feel that these are good officers serving their nation and I wish I could do more for their health and well being.”
Varley said they tried to improve healthy life styles up at their newly opened gym.
He said they also started an education and health screening process for officers around Rove and around the country where they could get diabetics checks, blood pressure checks and education.
“And in some cases, we refer people off to clinics.
“So we try to do something.
“And I hope that in the future, improvements can be made to broader education, awareness and health prevention that allow Solomon Islands to access this health system that could help save lives.”
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN