7 Sep 2005

Vanuatu's police force to be restructured and foreign police commissioner appointed

3:49 pm on 7 September 2005

Calls by the Vanuatu police force for the government to provide funds to fill 140 vacant posts are unlikely to be met because of budget constraints.

The Minister for Internal Affairs, George Wells, says health and education are also competing for funds so although police are a priority, it is unlikely they can get the money for all 140 positions.

Mr Wells also says he believes the force should number about 400, not the current 550.

He says he will be submitting a proposal to the budget committee next week to fill a number of posts although this will mostly cover about 20 to 30 officers who are over retirement age.

"Well, we need roughly over 50 posts of the police but we need roughly about 80 to 70 million vatu. Of course, it's a matter of money, budget again, to fill in some of these posts but again, we have to understand that with revenue collection, our budget in Vanuatu it's very limited."

Mr Wells says the police force lacks discipline and needs to be restructured.

He also says they will be looking for a foreign police commissioner to carry out the restructuring and restore respect to the force.