24 Mar 2010

Tonga police commander says 18 officers face criminal charges

1:53 pm on 24 March 2010

Tonga's Police Commander, Chris Kelley, says 18 of his officers are facing criminal charges.

He's revealed that there have been 131 complaints, including a number of alleged criminal offences, made against police officers in the past 18 months.

He says offences include assault, dishonesty offences, excessive use of force and others, such as attitudinal or personal matters, traffic offences and failing to take action.

Commander Kelley says three officers have already lost their jobs and another 32 face allegations that could cost them their positions, but he's confident he won't lose them all.

"Given that some, as I say, will be acquitted and dealt with properly by the court. Others will have the opportunity to provide me with reasons why they should stay. But we simply have to draw a line in the sand and say that these are the standards and we must meet them, and we must keep to them, and not compromise on that police accountability."

Tonga's Police Commander Chris Kelley.