7 Feb 2006

Commission choosing new Vanuatu police chief has 13 local applications

4:39 pm on 7 February 2006

Vanuatu's Internal Affairs minister George Wells says it's up the Police Service Commission whether a ni-Vanuatu will be the country's next police commissioner.

The Police Service Commission has received 13 domestic applications for the commissioner's post.

The Vanuatu force has been headed by an acting commissioner for the past 16 months amid speculation over whether an expatriate or a local should be appointed police chief.

Mr Wells says it's up to a five-person commission to decide by the end of the month whether to choose one of the local candidates, and if none fit the bill, to then advertise for a foreigner.

But he says he and the Council of Ministers would prefer to look overseas for a police chief, because he says Vanuatu has had problems with its police commissioners:

"There's always conflict among senior ranking officers. So what we want to do is advertise for the post for a foreign police commissioner like in Fiji and Solomon Islands and have a well-trained deputy commissioner to take over later. And I hope that the Police Services Commission will consider the recommendation of the council of ministers."