Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC)
Over the last decade, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has increased its co-operation with police forces in neighbouring countries, with a specific focus on challenging transboundary criminal activity (e.g. smuggling of drugs and guns, money laundering etc).
The AFP has built a regional network, establishing Transnational Crime Units in member states of the Pacific Islands Forum, co-ordinated since June 2004 by the Pacific Transnational Crime Co-ordination Centre (PTCCC). The PTCCC was originally located in Suva (Fiji) but moved to Apia (Samoa) in 2008, after the December 2006 military coup in Fiji led to a deterioration in regional relations.
Pacific Crime Coordination Centre Opens In Samoa, Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus, Media release,10 June 2008
“The Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus will open the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) in Apia, Samoa which will coordinate and analyse criminal intelligence data in the Pacific region.
“The Australian Federal Police have invested heavily in supporting law enforcement in the Pacific region to combat crime and be self sufficient. The PTCCC is a vital component of this joint policing approach and provides a central point for the exchange of criminal intelligence, not only between Pacific nations, but also the wider international law enforcement community.
“The PTCCC was first opened in Fiji in 2004, bringing together law enforcement, customs and immigration agencies from across the Pacific to tackle transnational crime. It has been relocated to Samoa to provide a better resourced base for the network of Transnational Crime Units in various Pacific nations….The PTCCC is led by an officer from the Tongan Police Force and staffed by Pacific Island law enforcement officers from Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. An AFP adviser will mentor the officers for the first 12 months.”
Joining together to fight crime in the Pacific, AFP Media release, Thursday, 24 April 2008
“The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has stepped up the fight against transnational crime in the Asia Pacific region with today’s opening of the Micronesia Regional Transnational Crime Unit (TCU). The Micronesia Regional TCU is a joint initiative between Australia, the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia, and the opening has been welcomed by Micronesia’s Secretary of Justice Maketo Robert. It is the sixth to open in the Pacific region, and is linked to a network of existing TCUs in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The AFP first forged a relationship with the United States’ Hawaii-based Department of Defence Joint Interagency Task Force West (JIATF West) in 2004 to create a more proactive criminal intelligence and investigative presence in the Pacific….The AFP has provided the Micronesia TCU with $300,000 of equipment and support, including a new vehicle, intelligence training and an AFP advisor for the first 12 months. JIATF West has contributed $450,000 to the project for the refurbishment of offices including the provision of cabling, air-conditioning, furniture and computer and communications equipment.”
Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre opens in Suva, AFP Media release, Tuesday, 15 June 2004
“The Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) opens in Suva today as part of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the South Pacific Police Commissioners’ commitment to combating transnational crime in the Pacific region…The PTCCC will become the hub of the Pacific Transnational Crime Unit Network and will manage and coordinate law enforcement intelligence provided by the Network and regional law enforcement agencies.
“A multi-agency team has been drawn from the Pacific Transnational Crime Unit Network with the inaugural Team Leader, Inspector Alanrow Banmatakaui, an experienced law enforcement intelligence officer from the Vanuatu Police Force. Since 2002, the AFP, through its Law Enforcement Cooperation Program, has established Transnational Crime Unit’s in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The Solomon Islands is expected to follow in 2005.”
Commentary and analysis
Strengthening the rule of law in the Pacific through international crime co-operation, Ciara Henshaw, Attorney General’s Department, presentation to ANU conference, 2007
“Following the establishment of the TCUs in each country as operational teams, the next stage in the development of the network was the establishment of the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) in Fiji in May 2004. The PTCCC provides a gateway into the network for other law enforcement agencies by acting as a regional one-stop-shop for all law enforcement enquiries. The PTCCC coordinates the flow of information between the TCUs and foreign law enforcement agencies. Its major functions are to coordinate the collection, collation and dissemination of intelligence throughout the Pacific Region from Pacific Law Enforcement Agencies and to provide intelligence support to other law enforcement agencies.
“Links to other law enforcement agencies around the world are further enhanced by the presence of Interpol within the PTCCC and access to the AFP International Network in 27 countries across the world. These links provide the TCU network and Pacific Island countries with the unique ability to access law enforcement information and have enquiries undertaken on their behalf in a practical and simplified manner.”