By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
POLICE have kicked out their reservists after the Government had to pay out K158 million to victims of their misconduct, with another 2,300 cases pending in court, an official says.
Solicitor-General Tauvasa Tanuvasa told The National that most of the cases involved members of the police reserve unit which has been disbanded from this week.
“In 2020 alone we have 425 litigated active files in court. There are various types of claims and all involve police reservists from constables to chief sergeants,” he said.
Those in the reservist programme, which began in 1992 to assist the work of regular police officers, have been told by Police Commissioner David Manning to return all their police-issue gear and leave.
Only those attached with certain organisations will remain.
The total number of police reservists could not be confirmed yesterday.
Tanuvasa said they had to deal with 9,800 litigation matters from 1992 to 2020.
“It’s a very serious and considerable amount paid out which needs to be looked at by the Government,” Tanuvasa said.
He urged the Government to support the constabulary in terms of discipline.
“This is one of the reasons there is a team dedicated to all police matters,” he said.
Tanuvasa supported Manning’s decision to review the police reservist programme.
“It is necessary and has to be done so that we can have a more disciplined police force,” Tanuvasa said.
“Most claims against the state are police claim made against reservists from constable to chief sergeants.” Police Minister Bryan Kramer said the actions of some reservists had tarnished the good work of regular police officers.
It is likely that some will be rehired through a “filtering system”.
Manning last week ordered the standing down of police reservists because of “widespread abuse”, except for those engaged with certain organisations.
“Anyone caught with these (police-issue) items after Sept 14 will be charged with impersonation or for being in possession of police issue items,” Manning said.
“While the reservists are being stood down, the various commands will take stock of their manpower needs.
“Any gaps will be identified and the former reservists as well as interested citizens can apply,” he said.
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA