Ex-convict recruited as a police officer raises questions

Samoan police on parade during national day celebrations

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: THURSDAY 05 MARCH 2015: An ex-convict who served prison time for murder is now working as a police officer with the Dog Management Unit (DMU) at the Ministry of Police.

“The ex-convict as you mentioned has been employed by the Ministry of Police before he was employed at the Dog Management Unit (DMU),” confirms the Acting Commissioner of Police Afamasaga Michael So’onalole in an email to Talamua.

Afamasaga further stated that the ex-convict “went through the same process as other applicants before he was appointed to work in the DMU.”

Several police officers Talamua spoke to are unhappy with the decision saying it is a slap on the faces of other police officers who applied for the post.

Legal opinion given Talamua say the recruitment is a violation of the Police Service Regulations Act 2010.

Section 06 of the Act, under Requirements applying to sworn members paragraph (d) states why anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment is not eligible to wear the uniform.

A sworn member appointed to the service must satisfy certain criteria before donning the uniform.

These criteria include:

(c) have satisfactorily completed the basic training requirements relevant to the office as provided for in sub-regulation;

(d) have never been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment;

(g) have disclosed all information relating to any previous dismissals from previous employment and previous convictions for any offence he or she may have committed.

The Act also states that “a permanent sworn member shall have completed and passed a basic recruit training course approved by the Commissioner and including all elements of the course which are stated in General Instructions issued for this purpose by the Commissioner.”

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