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Bid to enhance border protection

Filipe Naigulevu
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A TWO-WEEK investigation workshop for Border Protection Agencies is being conducted in Suva in a bid to enhance border protection capabilities to combat transnational crimes in the region.

This is being made possible through collaboration between the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) in collaboration with Australian Border Force and Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO).

As many as 23 participants of the workshop will undergo the investigation workshop for the next two weeks at the Regional Training Centre at the FRCS complex in Suva.

FRCS chief executive officer Visvanath Das highlighted the need to strengthen the network with regional border agencies to protect our borders.

"The aim of the training is to provide participants from border security related agencies with skills, knowledge and confidence required to build their investigation capabilities, increase engagement with partner agencies and to pursue mutual objectives in the region," Mr Das said in his keynote address.

"Of course, investigative skills program focuses on investigation methods and techniques used by the Australian Border Force and includes areas such as elements of offences, note taking and record keeping, investigation planning and interviewing, power of arrest and search warrants to name a few."

Mr Das said they were very fortunate to have the Australian Border Force technical experts here to guide and train our people build capacity and capability around this.

"This is a great opportunity you have been granted. You should put full effort into it and grasp as much as possible and the most important aspect of these kinds of workshops is the network that you build," he said.

Mr Das thanked Australian Border Force for the expertise in ensuring a collective and collaborative approach to protect the region.

Participants are representing their respective countries; Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Samoa, Nauru, Marshall Islands and French Polynesia.

Australian Border Force facilitator, Alex Kelsall assured an establishment of a co-operative network through the workshop.

"We are here to gather knowledge as much as we are to impart knowledge because it is through knowledge we can get a closed working relationship, understand how each of our organisations work and how we can best combat transnational crimes," Mr Kelsall said.

OCO Head of Secretariat, Seve Peneua expressed similar sentiments.

"It is very important for all enforcement agencies to work together. The region is a ground for transnational organised crimes and criminal syndicates. Transnational organised crimes is increasing in the Pacific. There is no single country or agency that can effectively address on its own therefore the need to work closely together between and among your law enforcement agencies at the national level and across borders. We are working closely with regional organisations to jointly address these impacts of transnational organised crimes," Mr Peneua said.

Mr Peneua also added that OCO was in the process of developing an education and training framework to enhance and equip capacity and skills of law enforcement agencies in the region.

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