Tongan police officers in Dunedin

Southern police district commander Superintendent Bob Burns and southern district HR manager...
Southern police district commander Superintendent Bob Burns and southern district HR manager Catherine Hendry (far right) with Chief Inspector Sokopeti K. Falefau (second from left) and cadet officer Tupou Falemei Fale, of the Tongan police, who are spending a week in Dunedin observing how the southern police district's human resource department operates. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Having two staff members selected to provide ongoing assistance and advice to the Tongan police as part of a development programme between New Zealand, Australia and Tonga is a feather in the Southern police district's cap, says the district superintendent.

The manager of Tongan police's project to develop its human resources (HR), professional standards and communications strategies, Chief Inspector Sokopeti K.

Falefau, and cadet officer Tupou Falemei Fale, are spending this week in Dunedin with Southern police district HR manager Catherine Hendry, observing and learning how HR works in the district.

Mrs Hendry has spent a month in Tonga working with police there on their HR systems and will spend another eight weeks in Tonga during the next year helping the development of the system.

Southern district road policing manager Inspector Andrew Burns has already spent three months in Tonga during the course of a year, helping with the development of Tongan police's road policing strategy.

Police staff from throughout the country were involved in the programme, and that two southern staff members were recognised as some of the best people New Zealand police had to offer in their respective areas, reflected the standard of staff in the Southern police district, commander Superintendent Bob Burns said.

Chief Insp Falefau said they were understanding new things every day of their visit.

She was also observing communications and professional standards practice in the district.

The way the programme was run - by spreading out visits from advising New Zealand and Australian police staff - was working well, Supt Burns said, because it gave the Tongan police a chance to develop their own systems without being dictated to by either bigger country.

The approach had been well received, and other Pacific island nations had asked to be part of a similar programme, he said.

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