18 Mar 2011

Tonga women's NGO head defends performance of police boss

8:19 am on 18 March 2011

The president of a Tonga women and children's NGO is defending the performance of the newly-appointed Police Commissioner, Chris Kelley, in the wake of a petition calling for his removal.

The petition, signed by about 150 officers, was submitted to the Prime Minister last week and recommendations on a response to it are expected from a special committee next week.

Ma'a Fafine Moe Famili's Betty Blake says one of the main areas of work for her organisation, domestic violence, was not a priority for either the police or the government before Mr Kelley took over as Police Commander in 2008.

"Like what I say it was not easy to work with the police and it was regarded as a terrible subject to talk about domestic violence in public, talk about women abused or child abuse in public. But ever since the Police Commander was in Tonga I've felt so good and so greatly relieved that someone is there speaking the same language that we have tried to advocate for in our society."