23 Feb 2011

Separation of powers under newly structured Tonga Police

7:41 pm on 23 February 2011

A newly structured police force has been launched in Tonga, with a name change and the installation of the country's first police commissioner.

Chris Kelley, who's been the police commander since 2008, has been appointed to the new position for a three-year term.

He says the expiry of his existing contract this year means he'd need to be reappointed to stay on for another three years.

Commissioner Kelley says the changes make the role of the operational head of police distinct from that of the police minister and will make for greater efficiency.

"Well I think it will assist very much so because it means that Cabinet and the Minister are no longer really involved in the day-to-day running of the force, it stops at the level of the commissioner. It's only a force of 423 people so it's not large and can be administered very easily from within a small group."

Commissioner Kelley says the new name is Tonga Police, removing the word force.