International Deployment Group (IDG) under RAMSI
From the 1990s, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) faced an increased tempo and number of overseas deployments, as part of peacekeeping and intervention operations, often alongside Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops – in Bougainville, Kosovo, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and elsewhere.
In response, the Coalition government led by Prime Minister John Howard (1996-2007) announced the formation within the AFP of the International Deployment Group (IDG). Extra resources in 2006 allowed the recruitment and training of new staff and increased the specialist technical capacity of the IDG.
The election of the ALP government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in November 2007 has seen an ongoing commitment to the IDG and international policing operations.
International Deployment, AFP website
“Since the Government first announced the establishment of the IDG, it has played a vital role in meeting ongoing regional security requirements. The IDG currently has members deployed to Cyprus, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Nauru, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cambodia & Afghanistan.”
Rudd government (2007 – ongoing)
“In July this year, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands celebrated its fifth anniversary. I intend to visit the Solomon’s later this year to meet the officers doing our important work there. The AFP-led Participating Police Force comprises personnel from fifteen Pacific Island Forum nations. Australia provides the largest contingent – approximately 276 personnel. The primary focus is implementing leadership development programs, supporting the establishment of the Solomon Islands Police Force National Response Unit and the Police Response Team.”
Howard governmernt (1996-2007)
International deployment, statement, Prime Minister John Howard, 2 February 2004
“After discussion with the Minister, Senator Ellison and the Commissioner, I’m announcing this morning the formation of a dedicated international deployment group within the Australian Federal Police to comprise some 500 officers recruited from both the Australian Federal Police and the state police forces. They will have the permanent ongoing responsibility of taking part in international deployments.
“They obviously will incorporate many of the people who are now on deployment in the Solomon Islands and to be deployed in the near future in Papua New Guinea.”
International Deployment Group significant events, Australian Federal Police Annual Report, 2005-06, p90
“– On 24 July 2005 the AFP saw the second anniversary of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Concurrent to the anniversary, AFP Federal Agent Will Jamieson was deputised as the third (AFP) Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police and Commander of the PPF, and RAMSI transitioned into the capacity-building phase.
“– On 18 April 2006, the Solomon Islands descended into a period of civil disorder with violence, looting and destruction of property not seen since commencement of the RAMSI intervention in 2003. The police response saw deployment of an additional 71 Australian police to the Solomon Islands to the PPF. During the civil unrest, 31 PPF members were injured, including five who were injured seriously, and 11 vehicles were destroyed.”
New AFP recruits bound for international deployment, AFP Media release, 17 October 2005
“Thirty one new AFP recruits – bound for international deployment – were sworn in by Commissioner Mick Keelty at Barton College in Canberra today. The new recruits, who will come to the AFP from other law enforcement agencies, will bring a range of expertise and knowledge to the organization, including experience gained during previous international deployments overseas while seconded to the AFP. Having completed a specifically designed course for members coming to the organisation from other law enforcement agencies, the new recruits will be deployed overseas as part of the AFP’s International Deployment Group (IDG). Their first offshore posting will be to the Solomon Islands.”
Australian Federal Police Overseas Operations, Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) Audit report No.53, 2006-07 Performance Audit, p45, p118
“The initial deployment to Solomon Islands predated the creation of the IDG. The IDG was created in February 2004 to provide an administrative and policy platform for the planning and management of AFP overseas deployments. A benefit expected from the creation of the IDG was to concentrate and develop AFP expertise in the various aspects of overseas deployments, from the operational level to the administration of logistics planning and support.”
Commentary and analysis
What are the most likely military and wider national responses that may be required over the next 20 years? AFP Deputy Commissioner John Lawler, Australian Defence Force Journal, No.173, 2007, p84
“Recognising the continued high likelihood of such stabilisation operations within the region in coming decades, such as those conducted in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, the AFP and ADF are improving their collective abilities to work together, with a focus on coordination between agencies, and on developing common understandings in doctrine, training, integrated planning, logistics and capability development.
“A major impetus for the increased cooperation between the AFP and ADF was the almost simultaneous events of rioting in the Solomon Islands and in Timor Leste in May 2006. Following the initial response to these events, the ADF and AFP went to the Government with proposals seeking to address concerns over the capacity to deal with any similar situation of concurrency in the future.”
International Deployment Group (background to IDG in the Pacific)