The issue of inefficient manpower is a growing challenge for the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), as the number of officers continue to steadily decline.
VPF Deputy Commissioner Operation, Kalo Ben said manpower shortage is one of the main challenges they face during the recent Operation Noel.
However he is not the first and only authority to have raised the issue. The need to increase the 670 officers strong Force have been raised numerous times in the past by Commissioners, and minister responsible for Police.
Out of the 670 officers, 59 have reached retirement age, 25 of them are high ranking officers who held commanding positions.
Last year alone 13 of the officers who reached retirement age left the Force due to medical grounds.
The total number of the VPF was further reduced by 10 last year alone after working members of the Force died.
16 other officers are currently serving overseas on Peace Keeping Missions.
Because of the shortage of manpower, officers were prevented from taking leaves during the recent Operation Noel.
Meanwhile, the future focus of the Force is a boost of 100 new recruits to be recruited in phases. When asked when the new recruitment is expected Daily Post was told it will happen when funds are available.
Due to the reduction, the VPF currently has 647 officers, 16 of whom are on overseas missions.
VPF has 585 male officers, 95 females, and 16 civilians.
Over 300 officers are based in Port Vila.