17 Mar 2011

Tonga Police minister surprised at petition to remove new Commissioner

2:30 pm on 17 March 2011

Tonga's Police Minister says he's surprised by a petition calling for the removal of the newly appointed Police Commissioner, Chris Kelley.

Dr Viliami Latu says a petition signed by about 150 police officers was presented last week to the Prime Minister.

The Matangi Tonga website reports that the petition opposes the Tonga Police Act 2010 and attendant restructuring of the police force.

Dr Latu says it's the first time the Ministry of Police has had to deal with such a thing.

"The officers I think have been with Tonga Police for so long and they're getting used to the old style. With the new reforms in place I think they...it's a big challenge for them."

Dr Viliami Latu says he's not able to comment on the substance of the petition but a committee set up to deal with it will release its recommendations next week.