28 Jul 2011

Public concern expected in Tonga as police chief ends role

7:37 pm on 28 July 2011

The decision not to extend the contract of the New Zealander in charge of Tonga's police is expected to generate public concern.

Chris Kelley was appointed Tonga's first Police Commissioner earlier this following a three-year stint as the Police Commander and the first foreigner to head the force.

He's widely ackowledged as having done much to restore credibility to the police but has also faced challenges from within the force over efforts to enforce stricter discipline and the introduction of merit-based promotion.

Mr Kelley says his last day in the job will be next Friday and our correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu says people will be surprised that he's leaving without some kind of public discussion.

"The people have expressed their views, he's been an excellent ambassador of rule of law in Tonga, really, the police visibility, the police presence and the response time they make to certain complaints is quicker than before and this is the various opinion expressed by public is that he's made a clear difference and that's why they want him to stay."

Our correspondent in Tonga, Mateni Tapueluelu.