10 Oct 2013

Samoa broadens selection criteria for police chief

2:41 pm on 10 October 2013

The Samoa parliament has widened the scope for the selection of the country's top police officer with the aim to get the best person for the job.

One of the changes allows for non-Samoans to hold the post for first time.

Talamua Online reports the Police Service Amendment Bill was rushed through parliament under urgency on Wednesday.

The new law means there is no longer an age restriction on the commissioner, nor a requirement that he or she has to have had 10 years service as a police officer.

The prime minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says opening up eligibility will be a challenge to local police officers to lift their performances so an overseas applicant does not get the job.

The current commissioner of police and the head of the Tafa'igata Prison are suspended while a commission of inquiry is conducted into a raft of complaints, ranging from abuse of prisoners, and nepotism and favouritism within both services.