11 May 2012

New Zealander named as new Tonga police commissioner

7:22 am on 11 May 2012

Tonga has announced that senior New Zealand police officer Superintendent Grant O'Fee will be the country's new commander.

Mr O'Fee most recently was in charge of security for the rugby World Cup.

Tonga has been without a police chief since September last year when the government refused to roll over the contract of another New Zealander, Chris Kelley.

The then police minister said it was time for a Tongan to again head a force whose reputation was badly tarnished by the riots of 2006.

But the newly appointed Police Minister, Sunia Fili, says the government feels it is important that an expatriate continues to fill the post while key reforms are still being implemented.

"For example it was new legislation that appointments and having higher posts [would be made] through merit, but before we were doing that through seniority. So it is a new system for Tonga and we hope that the new commissioner will assist us a lot on that."