28 Feb 2007

Report to recommend how reform of Tongan Police Force can be achieved

4:20 pm on 28 February 2007

A report with recommendations on how to reform the Tongan Police Force is expected to be delivered to the Tongan government by April.

A joint mission, comprising members of the Australian and New Zealand police forces, undertook an assessment of the Tongan police following a request from the government in Nuku'alofa.

Superintendent Gary Smith from New Zealand says they spoke to a wide number of people, from government agencies, MPs, the public and members of the Tongan Police Force to gain a strategic overview.

The reform will focus on police conduct, appearance and capacity building.

Superintendent Smith says there are areas where people believed there could be improvements.

"People clearly wanted to see more police on the street, they wanted more visibility; that was one thing they were consistent about. Another opportunity was perhaps around what their appearance was, they wanted police to look professional and smart, not just in their uniform but their buildings and their motor vehicles. And that was also a view held within the Tongan police."

Superintendent Gary Smith.