17 Mar 2011

Tonga Police Commissioner disappointed in petitioners' approach

4:16 pm on 17 March 2011

Tonga's newly-appointed Police Commissioner says he's disappointed at the way a group of police officers calling for his removal has gone about expressing its concerns.

Chris Kelley says he's not seen the petition signed by about 150 officers but he understands it conveys dissatisfaction with the Tonga Police Act 2010 and attendant restructuring of the force.

He says from both a legal and moral standpoint it would have been better if the officers had brought their concerns to him.

"You know we've changed from seniority being the most important attribute in promotion decisions. We ensure that people are promoted on merit-based criteria now. So it's really down to a person's skill level and their experience and their potential. Seniority is still a factor but only if other factors are even. And the new Police Act has been well-publicised and widely consulted before its implementation in February this year."

Chris Kelley says he's confident he can provide justification for all of the changes he's overseen to the structure of Tonga Police and would like the chance to provide some balance to the grievance issues.