PRESS STATEMENT - 8th May 2012 - Law enforcement experts from the Pacific are exploring opportunities to strengthen information management and sharing for enhanced service-delivery.

This was the focus of a three-day workshop held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, last month attended by senior customs, police, immigration and fisheries enforcement officials from Pacific Islands Forum member countries.

"We are very pleased to be hosting this workshop, which although aimed at combating the threats of transnational criminal activities, would also help participants strengthen their ability to manage domestic crimes through information and intelligence sharing," said Deputy Secretary General (Economic Governance and Security) of the Forum Secretariat, Ms Andie Fong Toy.

"Accurate and timely information is of vital importance to law enforcement activities," said Ms Fong Toy.

"In order to manage this information effectively, strong governance mechanisms, policies, legislation and practical procedures must be put in place to enable efficient collection and storage, with access provided to appropriate levels at relevant Government agencies."

The workshop participants discussed a number of activities and initiatives to enhance law enforcement information management, including the practical use of intelligence products to assist their agencies with preventing and responding to crime.

Discussions also focused on inter-agency cooperation, including the use of available fisheries information for wider law enforcement purposes.

"We view partnerships as essential and activities to enhance law enforcement cooperation are vital to an integrated approach for fighting crime," said workshop participant and Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) Secretariat Officer, Dave Potaka.

The Head of Cook Islands Immigration, Mr Kave Ringi welcomed the initiative to coordinate inter-agency activities.

"These are vital for our countries," said Mr Ringi. "Information sharing is vital to combat criminal activity and the more accurate information we have access to, the better our decisions will be."

In country groups, the participants reviewed the activities of their individual jurisdictions to better understand the information being managed by their respective agencies; mapped out current structures, databases and processes; discussed how to best develop, utilise and strengthen domestic inter-agency structures such as Transnational Crime Units (TCUs), Combined Law Agency Groups (CLAGS) and Targeting Units; and strategised on how to better integrate their activities with fisheries colleagues at the national and regional level.

The workshop is part of ongoing efforts by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat's Law Enforcement Unit to support activities of the Working Group for Strengthening Information Management (WGSIM) established by the Forum Regional Security Committee (FRSC) in 2010. WGSIM members and law enforcement partner agencies also in attendance included the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), the Pacific Immigration Directors' Conference (PIDC), the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP), the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Economic Development Division (SPC EDD) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

The workshop was organised by the Forum Secretariat and made possible with the financial support of the Australian Federal Police's Pacific Police Development Programme (AFP PPDP).