TOP PACIFIC POLICE OFFICERS TRAIN IN TONGA

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Two-week training course sponsored by Australia, New Zealand

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 21, 2008) – Potential police commanders and assistant commanders for the Pacific are currently being trained for the top job in a Pacific Regional Policing Training course that opened in Nuku'alofa today.

The two weeks training jointly funded by the Australian and New Zealand Government was opened this afternoon by Tonga's Minister of Police Hon Siaosi 'Aho, who told participants that the course held for the first time in Tonga, is important because it will deal with the issue of corruption.

"We need to develop good leaders to take over the top roles and this course can ensure that it provides participants with the tools and they can pick what is required for their particular environment," he said. "Police in the region and other parts of the world are not new to accusations of corruption - it is one of the major accusations we face but we must accept constructive criticisms."

The training will deal with the issue of corruption when covering Ethics and Integrity in Policing. It will also cover other issues such as Strategic Planning, Policy Development and Managing Budgets.

Bob Shaw, the Police Strategy Adviser of the Pacific Regional Policing Initiative PRPI who is conducting the training said this is the Executive Development level training aimed at preparing future police leaders.

The participants are all senior police officers from the Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Nauru and Tonga, and they will be prepared to go from middle management level to executive level.

"Gone are the times when people got promoted just by virtue that they were good policemen and they could catch criminals and do their police job well. What we are looking at now is that once people get promoted to supervisory and management ranks they have got to change their jobs to become managers and our aim is to prepare them for that," he said.

He added that although one should be a good police officer to get promoted, it is not the only skill that one needs to become a police leader.

"You need leadership and management and this course will prepare potential future police commanders and assistant commanders to be able to manage budgets, submit plans, develop and approve policy and be able to manage the ethics in their police organization."

Participants will be issued a Certificate at the completion of the course in two weeks time.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

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