Criminal cops face investigation as Commissioner, Minister, take tough stand

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Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell and Minister of Police Māteni Tapueluelu (R)

 Tongan Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell said this week he would not have the reputation of good police officers sullied by the actions of a few.

The Tonga Police Professional Standards Unit is conducting 16 criminal investigations against Police officers and 38 disciplinary investigations are underway.

As Kaniva News reported earlier this week, nine police officers have been suspended from the police force, eight of them in the month of June.

“I have set standards and expect them to be met,” Commissioner Caldwell said.

“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.”

And the Commissioner was backed up by the Minister of Police, Māteni Tapueluelu, who told a recent Police Recruit graduation ceremony told the Recruits: “Your integrity is not for sale.”

Of the nine officers suspended, one is a senior officer, six are senior constables and two are probationary constables.

In the past five years 12 officers have been sacked for serious misconduct or loss of confidence in their performance.

In the same period five police officers were convicted in the Supreme Court of serious criminal offences.

The Professional Standards Unit staff was recently increased to 13 with the addition of four new officers.

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