48th PICP Conference– 21 to 23 August
The PICP Conference was held at the Ottoville Professional Building on 21 and 22 August, and the Chief’s Retreat was held at the newly renovated Pago Pago Police Station on the 23 August.
The theme of the conference was ‘A Pacific United: Preventing drug harm within our communities’.
The Conference aimed to present current and relevant information and collective knowledge from a range of industry experts around disrupting the supply and reducing the demand of illicit drugs. The conference was structured in a way so that many views on these issues could be heard which would permit a more holistic collaborative response.
The Chiefs and honoured guests arrived for the official opening of the conference by escorted motorcade. Once seated, delegates were officially welcomed by PICP Chair Commissioner HTC Le’i Sonny Thompson from the Department of Public Safety and then by the American Samoa Attorney General, Honourable HTC Lolo Matalasi Moliga, on behalf of the Governor of American Samoa.
The President of INTERPOL, KIM Jong Yang, delivered the key note speech at the opening ceremony. He described the rapidly growing issues of narcotic trafficking in the Pacific, and stressed that cross-border cooperation and the flow of information was key to the solution.
After the opening ceremony, WAN Chairs’ representatives outlined the draft WAN Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and Action Plan to the Chiefs. The Chiefs endorsed to meet with their respective WAN Chairs and support the finalisation of the WAN Strategic Plan and Action for ELT Feb 2020.
PICP Executive Director Superintendent Carl McLennan provided assistance to the Chair in the running of conference sessions which included
– Session1: Increasing Awareness. Presentations from UNDOC, PTCCC, JITFW, RCMP
– Session 2: Delivering a targeted and collaborative Response. Presentations from ESR, IACP, Tonga Police, American Samoa DPS, FFA, PIF-S, PIDC
– Session 3: Legislation and Regulatory Controls. Presentations from PILON, PIF-S, New Zealand Police, CNMI
– Session 4: Impacts on a Pacific Community. Paramount Chief Mauga T. Asuega
The presentations painted a concerning picture of drug trafficking in the Pacific and growing domestic drug demand. Recommendations included improving cross-jurisdictional and inter-agency intelligence sharing in the Pacific, developing financial intelligence, investing in forensics and border control (resources, training and safety measures), signing up to UNDOC International Drug Control Conventions, and addressing legislative gaps and policies.
At the end of each Conference day, the Chiefs continued discussions in a closed session facilitated by Amanda McCormick from the Australian Institute of Police Management.
In contrast to the very factual presentations by industry experts, was the heart felt talk from Paramount Chief Mauga T. Asuega who spoke of the impact of drugs in his local community. His words brought the message home of why this work is so important.
The PICP Chair’s Award was presented to Tonga Police Detective Acting Superintendent Halatoa Taufa for his leadership and commitment as the Head of the Police Drug Enforcement Taskforce which has helped to reduce serious crimes in Tonga.
The third day of the conference was a closed Retreat giving the Chiefs an opportunity to reflect over the presentations and make decisions on major regional priorities. Topics included the Pacific Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Pacific Transnational Crime Network Health Check and Pacific Fusion Centre.
The last evening was hosted by the American Samoa Government and held at Utulei Fale, Pago Pago. Delegates were escorted to the venue and met by American Samoan dignitaries including the First Lady of American Samoa. The event was joyful and attendees were entertained by traditional dance from local performers.
The 2020 conference will be held in Fiji and hosted by the Fiji Police Force. Commissioner HTC Le’i Sonny Thompson formally welcomed Brigadier General Qiliho, Commissioner of Fiji Police as the new PICP Deputy Chair. The 2020 Conference will be the 50th anniversary of the forming of the PICP, formerly known as the South Pacific Chiefs of Police Conference, and established in Fiji. The theme of the 2020 Conference will be announced later this year.
Download PICP Chiefs 2019 Photo