In a show of unity and solidarity, the Pacific Immigration Development Community (PIDC), Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) and Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) representing over 60 national Pacific Islands law enforcement agencies have signed a Declaration of Partnership to enhance cooperation between the three organisations.

The Declaration, signed by the respective Chairs Fiji (PIDC), the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (OCO) and Guam (PICP) on behalf of the Members of their organisations, provides a formal foundation for collaboration to combat transnational and organised crime and enhance border security in the Pacific.  Building upon existing regional law enforcement arrangements established by the Pacific Islands Forum, it is envisaged that the Declaration of Partnership will guide the development of collective initiatives to support and implement the Boe Declaration on Security recently endorsed by Forum Leaders at their 2018 meeting in Nauru.

The Declaration of Partnership enhances collaboration in several key areas calling for Parties to:  (a) strengthen regular joint engagement; (b) strengthen development and sharing of law enforcement information and intelligence; (c) promote coordinated multi-agency law enforcement training; (d) strengthen national inter-agency cooperation;  and (e) prioritise contributions to regional assessments and reports to obtain a clearer regional picture for strategic and operational planning.

Head of Secretariat for PIDC Mr Ioane Alama commended the Members of the three organisations in having the vision to endorse the joint action stating that “while OCO, PICP and PIDC have collaborated in the past to develop initiatives to protect Pacific Communities either individually or jointly as part of the Forum Regional Security Committee, this new Declaration is the first of its kind coming collectively from the national enforcement agencies themselves.  PIDC is excited to be a part of this partnership and as always looks to support law enforcement collaboration at all levels when able”.

Executive Director for the PICP Secretariat, Superintendent Carl McLennan, supported the importance of collaboration noting that the PICP Executive Leadership Team had noted that the Declaration was an important step in formalising what the organisations were already doing or had a desire to do better.  “The Declaration sends a strong and clear message of the intent of the three organisations and provides a roadmap for us to implement going forward. Now we need to ensure that we develop activities and promote a culture of multi-agency collaboration at both national and regional levels” said Superintendent McLennan.

Head of Secretariat for OCO Mr Roy Lagolago welcomed the signing of the Declaration and stressed the need to operationalise its text.  Mr Lagolago advised that “we have already held discussions on how to operationalise the Declaration and have scheduled a formal meeting for the Heads of Secretariats to develop a list of proposals to be considered by our respective governing councils.  It is here at the implementation phase where we will be able to measure the true success of the Declaration.”.

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Chief Joseph Cruz (centre) with Mr Ioane Alama – PIDC (left) and Mr Tevita Tupou – OCO (right) after PICP signed the Declaration of Partnership in Nauru.