But a pay increase for cadets, which took effect in April, is making the job more attractive, they believe.
This is week four since police began training nine new cadets – and five of the new recruits are women. They will step into jobs left vacant by more experienced police who have resigned or retired.
Police spokesman Trevor Pitt said there were various reasons for the resignations, but one of the main reasons was the pay.
The pay adjustment took effect in April, applying only to the lower ranks due to limited funding.
These junior police received the pay rise this year, two years after the Public Accounts Committee recommended police be paid a minimum of $20,000.
Pitt would not reveal the size of the pay increase, but cadets were previously paid a $12,000 annual salary, pro rata for the 13-week training period. Once they graduated, their
salary would improve by another $2000, up to $14,000 a year.
Pitt said: “The Police Service is woefully under-resourced in terms of salary levels commensurate with its role and functions for the community’s safety.
“Any further adjustments to pay are being considered only with what’s available within existing arrangements – not new money.”
Last year’s recruitment drive brought in seven new cadets: six men and one woman.
This year’s nine recruits began their training programme last month and they are now into week four of the 13-week programme of theory, practical and rigorous physical training.
“At present, the recruits are involved in sessions on identifying elements of criminal behaviour. The training is all local Cook Islands-based, coordinated by senior sergeant Maeva Kirikava,” Pitt said.
Sergeant Kirikava uses police expertise in various areas, such as forensics and traffic. He used outside expertise to cover
motivation, and areas like domestic violence and law.
The patroness is Mama Tuki Wright and Physical Training Instructor Aporo Kirikava.
“Upon completion, the successful recruits become Probationary Constables. There is a two-year time-frame in which they can complete to full constable. They can actually do that after their first 18 months,” he added.
Requirements in this work force is a minimum NCEA Level 1 or its equivalent, 18 years or turning 18 by graduation date and must be reasonably fit and recruitment course is physically challenging.
Application forms are available at the police headquarters in Avarua.