12 May 2017

Cook Islands police shed 20 percent of staff in six months

8:19 pm on 12 May 2017

The Cook Islands police force has lost 20 percent of its manpower in the past six months.

But the police commissioner, Ma'ara Tetava, said while it was sad to lose the experience, the force would be able to cope.

Mr Tetava said the former officers had gone to the private sector, overseas for study, or for personal reasons.

But our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme Buchanan, said sources had told her the officers had recently took their grievances directly to the Prime Minister, Henry Puna.

She said they had a variety of complaints.

"They are leaving because they are dissatisfied with the pay, which is extremely low -- police are amongst the lowest paid in the public service -- dissatisfaction with working conditions, and as I have been told there is also dissatisfaction with the leadership of the current commissioner of police," she said.