4 Nov 2010

Tonga police commander says force being rebuilt after 2006 riot

6:12 pm on 4 November 2010

Tonga's police commander says the force is slowly re-establishing its credibility under a rebuilding programme assisted by Australia and New Zealand.

The police force took a battering after the riots in Nuku'alofa four years ago for its failure to contain the unrest.

As a result, soldiers and police from Australia and New Zealand were sent in to help maintain order.

A tripartite programme to rebuild the force was put in place and two years ago New Zealander, Chris Kelley, became the first foreigner to head the police.

He says they are re-establishing public confidence and ensuring there's transparency, but he says it'll take some time to complete.

"It's not a short-term fix. It needs to be long-term process. It needs to have all the programmes worked through in a proper manner, a development process. I expect that for it to be complete to be in the region of five to ten years."