Women

Women power police chemistry lab

Four women running the Fiji Police Force’s Chemistry Lab take pride in using science to help solve cases. Principal Scientific Officer (Chemistry) Ms Miliana Werebauinona said knowing they could contribute towards the success of an investigation motivated them every day. WEREBAUINONA:  “I’m proud of the fact that we are all women in a unit that can assist investigators with their […]

Calvin Prasad

May 23, 2016 11:19 am

Four women running the Fiji Police Force’s Chemistry Lab take pride in using science to help solve cases.

Technical-Assistant-Eka-Maravou-Acting-Scientific-Officer-Susana-Lawedrau-Senior-Scientific-Officer-Venti-Chandra-and-Principal-Scientific-Officer-Miliana-Werebauinona.jpg
The Chemistry Team: [L-R] Technical Assistant Eka Maravou, Acting Scientific Officer Susana Lawedrau, Senior Scientific Officer Venti Chandra, and Principal Scientific Officer Miliana Werebauinona. (Fiji Police).
Principal Scientific Officer (Chemistry) Ms Miliana Werebauinona said knowing they could contribute towards the success of an investigation motivated them every day.

WEREBAUINONA:  “I’m proud of the fact that we are all women in a unit that can assist investigators with their cases with the use of our knowledge of science”.

The Fiji Police Chemistry Lab located in Nasova, Suva was initially under the Ministry of Agriculture’s Koronivia Research Station and became autonomous in May 2014.

Senior Scientific Officer Ms Venti Chandra said her work was enjoyable as there was always something new to do.

CHANDRA: “Working here is exciting as we can assist in investigations and we constantly have to read and study on new things that could lead to cases being solved and this is really motivating for me”.

Acting Scientific Officer Ms Susana Lawedrau said her four years with the team had been an excellent opportunity to cultivate her skills.

LAWEDRAU: “I was part of the pioneer lot and having joined straight out of university I’ve learned a lot from being a technical assistant to having to conduct administrative work in the lab”.

Technical Assistant Ms Eka Maravou said there was never a dull moment in her line of work.

MARAVOU: “I joined last year as a Technical Assistant and since high school I’ve always been interested in anything to do with lab work.   Being part of this team is great because we have a close bond and most importantly trust in each other because of the cases we work on”.

Ms Werebauinona said getting backlogged on cases is something the Unit tried to avoid.

WEREBAUINONA:  “At times we will be needed to be stationed at major police stations to conduct tests and this often happens during major drug raids and that does affect our manpower. However I have always stressed to my team that they must work hard and ensure investigators are given feedback on their reports so investigations are not affected”.

The Lab recently purchased a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) to strengthen its forensic chemistry capabilities.

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Ms Werebauinona proudly showing off the Lab’s new Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer. (Fiji Police Force).

Ms Werebauinona said the GCMS cost $250,000 and the machine would increase the Lab’s capacity to assist in criminal investigations.

WEREBAUINONA: “What we are now able to do is take biological samples such as stomach contents, urine, and blood samples…this machine can effectively detect compounds that may be put in a drink if we receive a case of drinks being spiked.  If the investigating officer can tell us what to look for we can use the reference samples and see if there is a positive match”.

The women in the chemistry lab were providing training on the GCMS by an Australian specialist.

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