Tetava said that the priorities of the Cook Islands Police Service over the coming future “will be guided by its strategic plan and the processes in which its resources have been invested, rather than any knee-jerk reactions to suggestions from individual critics”.
“The activities and tactical role of the police will continue its strategic path based on the sound groundwork and analysis the service has conducted and continues to refine as circumstances change,” he continued.
Tetava’s comments are in response to suggestions that the police are “unnecessarily harassing people” and that they “routinely invade the privacy of families”.
“Criticism from individuals who are disconnected from today’s law enforcement realities does not contribute any value to current police efforts,” he said. “Constant haranguing from critics will not translate into official responsiveness.”
The commissioner went on to add that any suggestion police were overstepping the mark in doing their jobs was “way off the mark”, particularly with regard to the need to uphold the orders of the High Court in conducting curfew checks on offenders.
“Random calls are conducted on the identified abodes of offenders, who are subject to strict court orders,” Tetava explained. “These conditions imposed on criminals who are alleged to have done wrong must be met, as police officers are the barrier between repeat offending and the safety of innocent people.
“Some offenders are already breaching the court’s rulings, particularly curfew, and this is evident from the daily checks by police officers at various times of the night. Those in breach are arrested on contempt charges and must reappear to face the court. Reoffending with new crimes will result in fresh charges.”
Tetava said his officers are duty-bound to uphold these orders and therefore must direct resources to follow-ups every night. He said that a dozen offenders on bail conditions are currently subjected to random curfew checks, and added that “the safety of the community depends on it”.
Referring to earlier suggestions that the police invest in “money-sniffing dogs”, Tetava also said that the police service was not about to dump the considerable investment made into training and other effective programmes, such as drug detection and dog handling, crime prevention, serious crime investigation, partnership building and others, “simply because of fanciful ideas”.