Information exchange crucial to keep Pacific safe from transnational crimes

Detective Superintendent Don Allan of the New Zealand Police and Liaison Officer in the South West Pacific

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: MONDAY 05 OCTOBER 2015: Participants at the Pacific Transnational Crime Unit (PTCU) meeting that ended in Apia last Friday agreed that all Pacific countries need to share factual information if they want to keep the Pacific a safe place from transnational crimes.

Outgoing PTCU Chairman, Cook Islands Police Commissioner, Maara Tetava and current chair, Samoa’s Police Commissioner Egon Lincoln Keil both agreed on the urgency and need for sharing such information between countries.

“We need one brain and one team,” said Cook Island Commissioner Maara.

“Share what you have and get the messages to the chiefs who will make the call on what’s needed to do, to action what you have gathered,” Commissioner Mara told the conference participants.

“There is no point sitting on information you have while the Pacific is increasingly becoming a target  area for transnational crimes,” he emphasized.

“The quicker you pass on the information,, the better it is to make decisions to keep the Pacific safe for generations of islanders to enjoy,” said Maara.

Detective Superintendent Don Allan of the New Zealand Police and Liaison Officer in the South West Pacific said the Pacific is becoming the target market for money laundering and other related cyber crime activities.

“The last PTCU conference identified transnational crimes and that was used as a baseline or starting point to try and understand the problem,” said Allan.

He said the recent conference was a very critical one as representatives from 18 countries shared and dialogued on ideas and ways to better developed a campaign to combat transnational crimes.

Working in the Pacific for the past 15 years covering 14 countries, Allan said he is seeing the transformation and trend of transnational crimes coming into the region.

“Criminals are tapping into the Pacific and our countries need to be aware that these crimes are happening,” he said.

Illicit drugs,  human trafficking and other transnational crimes are all surfacing in the pacific, but money related crimes top the list. Alan believes that people who are making money from these illicit activities are the ones that needed to be stopped, not the victims.

He said countries need to trust each other and share factual information if they want a safe Pacific.

Commissioner Keil said Samoa has come a long way and sometimes wen you are on the top, things do not get down and  you have to get all the way down and explain what you want.

Keil believes in receiving raw information first hand rather than the filtered information handed down to commissioners.

“Better to have raw materials which we can analyze and make a fair decision on than the filtered information,” said Commissioner Keil.

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