10 Feb 2005

Vanuatu Government says a foreign police head will revitalise the force

7:37 pm on 10 February 2005

A spokesman for the Vanuatu Government says it regrets having to offer the job of Police Commissioner to a foreigner but none of the country's 700 police is suitable.

After years of difficulties with the police commissioner position, the Government has agreed that the job should be filled for the next two years by a non-citizen.

Joe Carlo, the political adviser to the Home Affairs Minister, George Wells, says the nationality of the person chosen will depend on which country funds the role.

Mr Carlo says it's an exceptional situation involving maintenance of the country's integrity.

He says Vanuatu police are respected but the force needs revitalising.

"The problem is that there's been some cases where there's been a lot of involvement in politics by the police force. There's disgruntled members of the force between the police and the mobile wing, the Vanuatu Mobile Force. There have been increasing crime in the last couple of years that's seen no end to it. We wish to protect our tourism as a revenue earner. And the cases of crime that's gone up recently, it seems as though there's no end to it."

Joe Carlo.