SROS hits back at Police Commissioner

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The Scientific Research Organization of Samoa has rubbished claims by the Ministry of Police and Prisons that the delay in setting up a molecular testing division within their organization has pushed back Police plans to recalibrate their breathalyser machines. 

Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo is quoted in a Samoa Observer article; however, a statement by the Chairman of SROS, Sulamanaia Munitini Ott says the organization was unfairly accused of impacting and causing delays to the Ministry of Police’s work.

He said SROS has always provided its assistance and prioritized requests from the Ministry of Police and does so with confidence, capacity, and competency to provide these services.

Since 2011 to the present, SROS services to the Ministry of Police is instituted by a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). “The said MOU utilizes SROS’s testing laboratories to perform confirmatory and purity analysis for narcotics or controlled drugs. In the past, these narcotic tests were outsourced to overseas testing laboratories by the Ministry of Police for costly confirmation. These tests are carried out by SROS and continue to do so.” 

According to the Chairman, the benefits of SROS’s services to the Ministry of Police are saving costs, as it is very costly to send samples overseas to be tested. Also, the turnaround time when samples were sent overseas takes months, it is now done within two weeks. Furthermore, SROS assists the Ministry of Justice; Assists Court proceedings in providing prompt and accurate test results for Police evidence in a timely manner.

Sulamanaia said with the most recent request by the Ministry of Police with regard to the breathalyzer machines earlier this year, SROS is progressing despite having limited capacity and equipment at the time of this request. SROS confirms the sourcing of the required equipment for calibration of breathalyzer units has been approved and is on route to Samoa from Canberra, Australia. 

The Ministry of Police is fully aware, as they are included in the correspondence between SROS and the Australian Federal Police funding the equipment. The Molecular Division will be housed at the old MedCen Building acquired by SROS in 2022. 

It is a separate division focusing on genetics and genomics diagnostic tests and research. Their mandated works are unrelated to that of the Ministry of Police.