26 Feb 2009

Police commissioner's departure marks Cook Islands push for local people

4:42 pm on 26 February 2009

A Cook Islands top official says the departure of the police commissioner marks a push to appoint local people into high-ranking positions.

Patrick Tasker, an expatriate appointed as part of a New Zealand government-funded move to improve the effectiveness of the police force, has confirmed he will not seek reappointment when his two-year term expires in June.

Mr Tasker publicly apologised for his part in a recent altercation with Treasury staff over instant traffic fines.

The Prime Minister's executive advisor says although he's not sure how the incident would have affected his chances of reappointment, the government wants a local person as police commissioner.

Trevor Pitt says Mr Tasker's solid contribution has made this possible.

"The mechanisms are there and the systems that he's managed to put in place, including external assistance from the New Zealand police force and whatever aspect that they need has been very helpful and I'm pretty sure that the Prime Minister would be confident in being able to appoint somebody locally."

Trevor Pitt says an investigation into the police commissioner's treatment of Treasury staff is still possible.