Executive Leadership Team Meet Online

Police Chiefs from across the Pacific met virtually on the 23 February 2021 for the biannual Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP).

The PICP Chair, Acting Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu opened the online meeting, remarking that this is the ‘new norm of how we meet’. The Acting Commissioner recognised that it has been almost 12 months since the pandemic was declared, and during that time there has been much additional and ongoing work for police services across the Pacific region. He welcomes the rollout of the vaccine in Fiji and looks forward to when the Executive Leadership Team can meet in person again.

Photo of ELT virtual meeting Feb 2021

In the PICP Executive Director report, Glyn Rowland stressed to the attendees the strength of the collective and the importance of continuing to work together on the goals outlined in the PICP Strategic Plan 2020-2024. He noted that the recent events in the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) should not impact the membership in the PICP, as the PICP is not a political body. Mr Rowland went on to discuss the collaborative work with partners Pacific Immigration Development Community (PIDC) and Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) in the Transnational Crime Units across the Pacific.

Guest speakers at ELT included Mr Terio Koronawa from the PIF Secretariat and Mr Patrick Haines from the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA). Mr Koronawa focused his presentation on the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway for COVID-19 (PHP-C) recent achievements and PIF security priorities in 2021 including the establishment of a Regional Transnational Organised Crime Disruption Framework. Mr Haines’ talk was relevant due to the increased work of police in responding to cyclones and adverse weather events. He predicts we will see an increasing severity and frequency of these as a result of climate change. PIEMA outlined courses available for Pacific police and requests can be made directly to them for further information.

Each Commissioner addressed the attendees with PICP programme updates, all reporting additional challenges as a result of the closed borders and travel restrictions. Chief Wilson from the Niue Police spoke at length about the importance of uniting to address gender and family harm, a key message being that violence against women is a crime and it can never be excused by culture or religion. This statement was backed by the full ELT and all members reaffirmed their commitment to work together on the PICP Gender and Family Harm programme.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cyber Safety Pasifika (CSP) programme. The CSP programme has been delivered to 19 countries across the Pacific and aims to increase cyber safety awareness and education of vulnerable communities and school groups. It is also aimed at upskilling Pacific Police officers in cybercrime investigations.

This year’s PICP Conference was re-scheduled for early November 2021 and will be held in Nadi, Fiji. It is expected that this conference will be smaller than normal as international travel is predicted to remain impacted by COVID-19.

In attendance was Acting Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu (Fiji), Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero (CNMI), A/Commissioner Akatauira Matapo (Cook Islands), Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil (Samoa), Commissioner Andrew Coster (New Zealand), Commissioner Reece Kershaw APM (Australia), Commissioner Mostyn Mangau (Solomon Islands), Commissioner Iven Notte (Nauru) and Chief Tim Wilson (Niue).

Also present were representatives of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Department Foreign Affairs and Trade, senior officers from Royal Solomon Islands, Fiji Police, New Zealand Police and Australian Federal Police, as well as from Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre, Pacific Community for Law Enforcement Cooperation and the Pacific Facility of Policing.

The next Executive Leadership Team in be November 2021 in Nadi, Fiji.