22 Nov 2005

Cook Islands police force work on strategic plan as review proposed

4:22 pm on 22 November 2005

The Cook Islands police force is working on a strategic plan for the next five years as the government proposes a widespread review of its performance.

The police commissioner, Pira Wichman, says he welcomes the planned review as one has not been done since the 1970s.

The government move comes after allegations were made of a lack of competency and leadership in the force by the former police minister, Peri Vaevae Pare, who is himself standing trial for corruption.

Mr Wichman says a review of police operations would be timely.

"We are working on our strategic plan for the next five years or so. And, we've done a survey with members of the community, not only here in Rarotonga but on the outer islands as well, to listen to what they have to say and respond, and take us in that direction. What the indication is so far is that we're missing some of the basic problems that could easily be addressed."

Mr Wichman says these include a long response time and police not getting back to people over complaints or notifying them when an issue has been dealt with.

New Zealand is expected to assist with the review of the Cook Islands police force.