7 Sep 2005

Vanuatu's police to be headed by foreigner

3:49 pm on 7 September 2005

The police force in Vanuatu is to be restructured and a foreigner is to become the police commissioner.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, George Wells, says he would also like to see the police force eventually number about 400 in total.

This is despite the acting police commissioner, Major Arthur Caulton, calling for the government to fund the 140 positions that are vacant in the current 549 number force.

Mr Wells says he is putting in an application to fund approximately 50 posts in the new budget but this will only cover officers who will be retiring.

He also says the Council of Ministers has approved the search for a foreigner to be appointed police commissioner.

"We need to have a foreign commissioner here because we don't want to get involved like the problems that happened in PNG, Fiji and Solomon Islands. We have some problems with our force, like lack of discipline, respect, that we need a foreign commissioner to come and put back discipline in the force, restructure the whole system of the force."

Mr Wells says the appointment would be for three years and then the post could be handed to a local.