AFP in Tonga
As part of its expanded program in the Pacific Islands region, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has increased its operations in the Kingdom of Tonga in recent years.
As in other island nations, the AFP has a program of co-operation and training with the Tonga Police Force. This includes specialist programs on money-laundering, counterterrorism and other transboundary security threats, through units such as the:
- Transnational Crime Network
- Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
- Law Enforcement Co-operation Program (LECP).
In November 2006, under Operation Tokoni, a contingent of 34 AFP officers supported by a Joint Task Force of ADF and NZDF troops was deployed to Tonga to support the Government of Tonga in the aftermath of major rioting in the capital Nuku’alofa.
The initial AFP deployment included members of the International Deployment Group (IDG) and Operational Response Group (ORG), but over a period of a month, 64 AFP members rotated through Tonga, including specialist skills such as: Disaster Victim Identification, Arson Investigation, IT, Protection, Investigations and General Duties policing.
Annual Report 2007-08, Australian Federal Police, p58
“Following the AFP response to the riots in Nuku’alofa on 16 November 2006, the AFP retained three members in Tonga in an advisory capacity to provide assistance to investigations and the preparation of briefs for court cases associated with the unrest. These advisors completed their duties in December 2007. Resulting from a joint Australia and New Zealand scoping mission in 2007, the Tonga Police Development Program was established to facilitate the development of the Tonga Police Force. Australia’s initial contribution to this joint initiative involves the deployment of two AFP members in advisory roles. These members were deployed to Tonga on 22 May 2008. Funding of $1.6m for this initiative was approved by the Government for 2008-09….
“The following significant operations were carried out in international regions in 2007-08: deployment of forensic and DVI personnel to Tonga to assist in the investigation and identification of five deceased persons in Shoreline fires.”