Fuiavaili’ili says removing cop couples complicated

Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, says the removal of Police officers who are married to or are in defacto relationships with colleagues is complex and he will need legal advice.

He said there could be legal ramifications and he will have to meet with the Office of the Attorney General to discuss the issue. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi urged the Police Commissioner last month to act on the mandate he delivered a year ago to remove any married or defacto couples working in the police force.

Speaking at the passing out of 114 new police officers, Tuilaepa reminded the Commissioner of his obligations following the orders issued last November. 

“More than 30 police officers were removed as a result and this was specifically highlighted for the Ministry of Police, given your duties deals with wrongdoing in the country.” 

But Fuiavaili’ili said it will not be easy as there could be legal ramifications for the Samoa Police Service.

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“There are legal issues that have to be addressed first before any of that can happen. I know it’s a topic that was brought up by the Minister of Police and as we all know, we work for the Prime Minister, we do the best we can to fulfill anything legally directed to us by our leaders. 

“And the Prime Minister is my leader and whatever the leader wants and its lawful; it’s not much the Commissioner of Police and any C.E.O. can do; we have to listen to our leaders,” he said.

He said he will need to consult the Office of the Attorney General to see if it is legal, what authorities have to be involved in the exercise, and whether it will be law or policy. 

Asked if he knew of any police officers living in de facto relationships within the service, he said he is more concern with his officers when they are on duty and not at home.

“I’m a busy man, and I have a very busy schedule and I don’t look into people’s personal lives. I expect them to do their job and do it well and professionally, but outside of their work, I don’t venture there.

“I want to make sure that my guys and gals are doing the right thing when they are on duty and new off duty; particularly when they are on duty it is my concern,” he added.  

The Public Service Commission has a long-standing policy that banning couples from working in the same ministry, but it has not applied that policy to the Samoa Police Service. 

Tuilaepa, in correspondence to the Police Commissioner last year, outlined how couples should be banned from the police force including those living in defacto relationships.

“However, you did not remove those defacto relationships they should be removed before the year ends,” he said.

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