2 Aug 2011

Outgoing Tonga Police Commissioner says too early to say if reforms have been successful

7:57 pm on 2 August 2011

The New Zealander who has been dumped as police commissioner in Tonga says it's yet to be seen whether an international aid effort to restore the force has been successful.

Chris Kelley finishes his three year term this weekend and had been expecting to be offered a two year extension but the Tonga government says it's time for a local to take over.

Mr Kelley was appointed as part of a project funded by New Zealand and Australia to restore the credibility of the force after it'd performed poorly during the riots in late 2006.

Mr Kelley says there are a number of capable senior officers who could eventually step up but it's too early to say whether the problems affecting the force five years ago have been overcome.

"Whether or not we have sufficiently progressed in terms of technical skills, in terms of command skills, in terms of decision making processes remains to be seen. We have certainly put programmes in place to develop that and that'll be the test for the future."