9 Tonga Police officers on suspension

Nine police officers are currently suspended from Tonga Police and of that total 8 of them received their suspension in the last 12 months.

Six were suspended in relation to criminal matters and three in relation to disciplinary matters. 

Six of the police officers suspended are senior constables; two probation constables and one senior officer.

“I have set standards and expect them to be met. The public rightly expect the highest levels of professionalism and ethical behaviour from their Police. There is absolutely zero tolerance for unlawful and ill-disciplined behavior. Every police officer is accountable to the law, not above it,” said Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell.

At the direction of the Commissioner, there are currently sixteen (16) criminal investigations underway against Police Officers conducted by the Tonga Police Professional Standards Unit. There are also thirty-eight (38) disciplinary investigations underway.

The Tonga Police Professional Standards Unit (PSU) is responsible for conducting investigations into Police officers. The PSU led by a Chief Inspector has a total of 9 staff, with the Commissioner recently approving 4 extra investigators to join the PSU.

A statement from Tonga Police said the Minister of Police, Mateni Tapueluelu is highly supportive of the tough stance taken by the Commissioner and has given clear Ministerial direction that corrupt officers cannot be allowed to erode public confidence in the police.

In his speech at a recent Police Recruit graduation ceremony, Mr Tapueluelu told the Recruits that “Your integrity is not for sale.”

The PSU has also been conducting awareness campaigns for the public about the role of the police and how the public can lodge complaints against police.

Twelve police officers have had their employment terminated in the past five years in relation to serious misconduct or loss of confidence in their performance.

Five police officers have been convicted in the Supreme Court for serious criminal offences in the past five years.

“We have seen a significant reduction of crime and road toll from good work by good police officers working with the community, and I will not tolerate having their reputation sullied by the actions of a few,” Commissioner Caldwell said.