3 Aug 2011

Tonga Police Minister dismisses report he'll be acting police commissioner

1:51 pm on 3 August 2011

Tonga's police minister Viliami Latu says a parliamentary committee is looking to amend the Police Act so the power to appoint a police commissioner rests with the government.

New Zealander Chris Kelley, who's been Tonga's police chief for the past three years, finishes his term on Friday, after the government refused to roll over his contract.

There've been local media reports that Dr Latu himself would become the acting commissioner but he says that's not the case and calls it a weird suggestion.

The Police Act requires the Privy Council to select the commissioner but Dr Latu says that body hasn't met since the new government took power at the beginning of the year, so a different approach is needed.

"Government has appointed a committee to look at the new Police Act and try to amend some parts of the Act, which include who has the power to appoint someone to become acting commissioner."

Dr Latu says the deputy commissioner, Taniela Faletau, will be Tonga's police commander in the interim.