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Issue No. 411 March 2017

Pacific focus on people smuggling

Law enforcement, border and government officials from eight Pacific Island nations visited the RNZPC last month for training on how to counter people smuggling.

Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Cameron, right, and Detective Sergeant Sonya Douglas, left, with Arnold Horesi, Royal Solomon Islands Police; Detective Sergeant Tavita Meita, Kiribati Police; Viliami Lolohea, Tonga Immigration; and Assistant Commissioner Donald Yamasombi, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
Photo: Detective Senior Sergeant Warren Olsson

The ten-day course – the first of its kind in the Pacific region - aimed to give Police, Customs and Immigration officers the tools to enhance their response to people smuggling and irregular migration.

Since 2012, Police has facilitated a Southeast Asia-centred course at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia, jointly with Australia and Canada.

The curriculum has been adapted for the Pacific region.

It included training on the roles of agencies, serious crime investigation; scene examination; intelligence processes; immigration fraud detection; financial crime investigation; and interview skills. It culminated in a two-day practical exercise.

Detective Senior Sergeant Warren Olsson, of the National Criminal Investigations Group (NCIG), says participants impressed their trainers with their engagement and enthusiasm.

“It’s hoped further courses can be held in the near future,” he says.

The course was jointly co-ordinated with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Immigration) and funded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Pacific Security Fund.

It reflects a commitment to the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

Steve Vaughan, Assistant General Manager, MBIE Intelligence & Risk, says New Zealand is an active member of the Bali Process and recognises the forum’s valuable role as a focal point for addressing the complexities of people smuggling and related crime.

“The Pacific region is not immune from the ongoing risk posed by sophisticated criminal syndicates,” he says. “The training course proved we must work collectively, and in a practical manner.

“New Zealand values its close engagement with the Pacific and we are keen to explore further how we can partner with Pacific members to help deter and disrupt the criminal groups that may target this region.”

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