On 18th June, the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Margaret Adamson, and Australian Federal Police (AFP) Senior Liaison Officer, Mr Stephen Mullins, travelled to Buka to officially open a new Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) within the Bougainville Police Service.
They were welcomed by the Acting President of Bougainville, the Hon. Patrick Nisira MHR and the Assistant Commissioner for Police, Tom Eluh.
The official opening of the TCU formed part of an extended ceremony at which the Acting President launched Bougainville’s security operation for the 2012 National Elections.
The AFP donated a new Toyota ten-seater 4WD, four new desktop computers and two laser printers to facilitate the initial set-up of the TCU. The Unit in Buka will be a joint partner within the Pacific Transnational Crime Network and bring the total number of TCU’s, in thirteen Pacific Island Countries, to sixteen.
It will increase the capacity of the BPS to disrupt and dismantle the criminal syndicates involved in transnational crime, including the trafficking of illegal firearms between Bougainville and Solomon Islands.
The AFP has already sponsored Constable Eugene Masiu from the BPS to complete a posting at the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre in Samoa.
The law and justice sector is a priority for Australian Government assistance to Papua New Guinea. Since 2003, AusAID has spent over K42 million on infrastructures and advisory support to the law and justice sector in Bougainville. This is in addition to the assistance that has been provided by the Australian Federal Police. It has all been targeted at re-building the law and justice sector and policing following the crisis years.