Law Enforcement Cooperation Program (LECP)
Since the late 1990s, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has been seeking to expand its cooperation with neighbouring island states, and since 1997 has co-ordinated partnership and training programs through the Law Enforcement Cooperation Program (LECP). In the Pacific Islands, the AFP has supported a key co-ordination position at the secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva, Fiji – the Law Enforcement Training Coordination Officer. Through LECP funding, it has also been extending the Pacific Transnational Crime Network, with a co-ordinating centre in Fiji and Transnational Crime Units (TCU) in a number of island states.
Law Enforcement Cooperation Program, AFP website
“The Australian Federal Police’s Law Enforcement Cooperation Program (LECP) plays a vital role in assisting foreign law enforcement agencies to deal with transnational crime. Transnational crimes include, but are not limited to:
- drug trafficking
- people smuggling
- identity fraud
“By working closely with law enforcements agencies around the world, the LECP reduces the impact of transnational crime on Australia. Since its establishment in 1997, the AFP’s Law Enforcement Cooperation Program (LECP) has primarily focused on building partnerships with agencies in the Asia-Pacific region. However, it also delivers program activities around the world. Amongst the LECP’s most outstanding achievements are:
- The establishment and continuing development of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network. Transnational Crime Units (TCUs) are now operational in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Further are being considered for other Pacific Island nations.
- The establishment of the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC). Based in Fiji, the PTCCC will coordinate the flow of information between TCUs and foreign law enforcement agencies. An AFP adviser has been deployed to Suva to develop the centre.
- The establishment of a Law Enforcement Training Coordination Officer in the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Suva) to: coordinate law enforcement training throughout the region; introduce a law enforcement training package that is certified and accredited by key stakeholders such as the University of the South Pacific and is of particular relevance to the Pacific region; raise the training capacity within the region by the qualification of Pacific law enforcement training personnel.”
Law Enforcement Cooperation Program, AFP Annual Report 2002-03, p66
“In the Pacific the LECP with partner law- enforcement agencies developed and expanded a Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) network throughout the region. TCUs are operating in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. TCUs in Vanuatu and PNG are being developed and are scheduled for completion in late 2004. The Samoa and Tonga TCUs have already developed significant leads and information on transnational crime.
“The Fijian TCU, in partnership with the AFP, the Royal Malaysian Police and other foreign law enforcement agencies resolved a major transnational crime investigation spanning Asia and the Pacific in June 2004. The investigation seized a major clandestine amphetamine-type stimulant production facility in Fiji. The criminal syndicate had allegedly planned to import commercial quantities of the illegal drugs into Australia.
“The LECP with its Pacific law-enforcement partners established the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) in Suva, Fiji (June 2004). The PTCCC is staffed by an AFP member and members from participating Pacific law- enforcement agencies involved in the TCU network. Its role is to provide proactive transnational crime intelligence to the region and tactical and strategic advice to TCUs in participating countries.
“The LECP continued to provide training and equipment to ensure future sustainability of TCUs and the TNCCCs in Asia and the Pacific. A major feature was the ongoing roll-out of a computerised Crime Management Information System (CMIS), including training. The CMIS was to be installed in all units across Asia and the Pacific providing the AAJ and partner agencies with the ability to collect. manage and disseminate transnational crime intelligence bilaterally and multi-laterally between agencies, countries and across regions.”
Law Enforcement Cop-operation Program , Australian Federal Police Annual Report, 2003-04, p66
“In the Pacific the LECP with partner law-enforcement agencies developed and expanded a Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) network throughout the region. TCUs are operating in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. TCUs in Vanuatu and PNG are being developed and are scheduled for completion in late 2004….The LECP continued to provide training and equipment to ensure future sustainability of TCUs and the TNCCCs in Asia and the Pacific. A major feature was the ongoing roll-out of a computerised Crime Management Information System (CMIS), including training. The CMIS was to be installed in all units across Asia and the Pacific providing the AFP and partner agencies with the ability to collect, manage and disseminate transnational crime intelligence bilaterally and multi-laterally between agencies, countries and across regions.”
IDG – one year on, Paul Jevtovic, Platypus magazine, 2005
“The LECP was established in July 1998 from the second instalment of funding provided under the National Illicit Drugs Strategy (NIDS) and initially involved countries in the Asia Pacific region; however further funding has enabled the program to expand its activities to include the Pacific and the Americas. LECP provides capacity building and assistance programs designed to identify, prevent, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute transnational crime activity. The major aim of the program is to strengthen the capability of foreign law enforcement agencies to gather information and evidence against organised crime groups through education, training programs and the provision of equipment, while fostering closer personal and institutional linkages.
“In July 2004, LECP implemented a strategic three-year planning cycle to enable larger and more sustainable capacity-building projects. LECP is currently implementing the following major project activities in the Pacific:
- The ongoing establishment of a joint transnational crime unit network across the Pacific, including Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, PNG and Vanuatu.
- Funding support to maintain the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre in Suva;
- Establishment of computer-based training schools in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, PNG, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands;
- Conversion of the AFPs basic intelligence course into interactive CD Rom training modules;
- Disaster Victim Identification training, including equipment provision to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, PNG, Fiji and The Philippines; and
- The annual secondment of a Pacific Island law enforcement officer to the South Pacific Chiefs of Police Secretariat in Wellington New Zealand.”
Commentary and analysis
Strengthening the rule of law in the Pacific through international crime co-operation, Ciara Henderson, Attorney General’s Department, Presenetation to ANU Centre for International and Public Law conference 2007
“The AFP provides a range of functions including operation training and logistics support to bolster the capability of overseas policing counterparts. It also works to enhance coordination of intelligence and information exchange with law enforcement partners. The AFP through its Law Enforcement Cooperation Program has established the Pacific Transnational Crime Network to combat transnational crime in the Pacific region. Since 2002, Transnational Crime Units (TCUs) have been established in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea….
“The primary functions of the TCUs include collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of tactical intelligence, target development, management of issue specific investigations and establishment of in-country networks in support of their activities. Each TCU has a secure database, secure email system for communications across the network and with all other Pacific Island countries and each team maintains a surveillance and intelligence capability.
“The AFP has developed extensive training development programs which in parallel to the TCU program and have included intelligence, surveillance, operational security and attendance of TCU members on the National Strategic Intelligence Course, Major Investigations Management Workshops, Online Child Sex Exploitation Team training and drug investigations programs. Importantly, the TCU network and the AFP have been able to utilise key relationships with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pacific Islands Forum and Interpol to enhance training and capacity development opportunities.”