21 Jun 2019

Shift in policing tactics likely in Tonga drug policy

6:38 am on 21 June 2019
No caption

Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Tonga's police ministry is looking for regional collaboration to improve the country's ability to combat the harm done by drugs.

The government is developing a five-year national policy of illicit drugs with input from the community and the Pacific Islands Forum, a draft of which is likely to be released next month.

Superindendent Ashley Fua said there's support for moving from a reactive stance to putting more resources into prevention and rehabilitation.

He said the police would still maintain a zero tolerance on drug dealing, but there are better pathways for addicts.

"What's coming out of discussions is options to explore a diversion programme for users," he said.

"That would have some implication on how police and the justice sector operate. We're also looking at improving our prevention programmes, putting more funds into putting police out there with a message to schools and communities."