25 Nov 2015

Former Fiji police chief further clarifies reasons for departure

7:07 am on 25 November 2015

Fiji's former police commissioner says repeated interference by the military was one of the reasons for his resignation.

Fiji has replaced the South African retiree with the current land force commander Sitiveni Qiliho, in an acting capacity.

Ben Groenewald says the military interference started when the military made a civilian arrest last year.

He says the straw that broke the camel's back was the military's harbouring of a man wanted for sexual assault and the military's employment of three suspended police officers on the same charges.

"The functions of policing must be left to specialised police officers and not the military, and I'm a firm believer of that. The moment when you mix these functions, that to me, it can become chaos."

Ben Groenewald says there was also strong resistance to change within senior ranks of the police force.

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald appointed May 2014

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round