Since July police have made hundreds of arrests after a surge in fatal car crashes and criminal activity blamed on alcohol abuse, and the process continued over Easter with many more arrests.
The chairman of the Tonga Civil Society Forum, Drew Havea, said he backed the police campaign but he wondered if more could be done to ensure first offenders avoid having criminal records, but still reflect on their behaviour.
“Probably a lot of misdemeanours, minor things, that we can look at restorative justice and have the whole discussion on the issue in our own communities. Why don’t we have restorative justice as part of that community policing, where you can bring the community to be more responsible.”
Havea said increasing poverty and unemployment has caused some people in Tonga to view crime as a livelihood.