11 Nov 2015

Pacific head of police chief salutes Fiji's Groenewald

9:01 pm on 11 November 2015

The chair of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police has paid tribute to Fiji's outgoing police commissioner.

Ben Groenewald resigned yesterday and been replaced by Fiji's land force commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho as Acting Police Commissioner.

Mr Groenewald, who took up the job in May last year, has indicated he was not happy with the way the Fiji military was interfering with policing.

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald appointed May 2014

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round

Tony Edwards, who is also the police chief of Niue, says Ben Groenewald is a true professional and is sad to see him go.

The regional grouping welcomed Fiji back into the fold this year following elections in 2014, however the resignation has been mired in controversy with allegations of interference by the military.

Mr Edwards says he was grateful to Mr Groenewald for his work.

"Just to have Fiji back in and not just Fiji but Ben himself, to be back into the fold you know he was an awesome participant at the conference and we felt that Fiji was going forward with his leadership there and there was nothing else we expected from him but it is sad that he's resigned from his position."

Tony Edwards says the regional grouping is ready to work with Mr Groenewald's successor.