Organised crime in the Pacific is targeted as a growing concern, particularly over drug trafficking and money laundering, with senior Cook Islands Police meeting to discuss the matter this week in Samoa.
Cook Islands Police have a presence at the
convening of the 20th anniversary of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network
(PTCN) Team Leaders’ Conference this week.
Police spokesman Trevor Pitt said Pacific
islanders in New Zealand and Australia who become recruited and gang-affiliated
is a “troubling trend for obvious reasons”.
“High mobility between metropolitan
centres and the islands presents vulnerabilities and risks, which demand
concerted management and oversight by multiple law enforcement agencies.”
The meeting in Apia between October 24 and
26 brings together regional team leaders of law enforcement agencies involved
in transnational crime surveillance, monitoring, and investigations.
Cook Islands police officer Senior
Sergeant Leighton Boaza is attending, as well as a follow-on meeting with the
Australian National Anti-Gangs Squad.
“Generally, the PTCN gathering is expected
to involve a number of country presentations, as part of the discussions.
“I’m not able to delve into any detail
suffice to say this area of policing and information sharing, on a multi-agency
basis (domestically and internationally), is vital,” Pitt said.
The Cook Islands Transnational Crime Unit (TCU)
was established in 2011 and works closely with domestic law enforcement
agencies in the assessment and detection of cross-border criminal activity and
national security threats.
This key aspect of Police work is
supported by international partners, particularly Australian Federal Police
(AFP), and networked with the region under the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police
(PICP), and through the multi-agency hub in Apia, the Pacific Transnational
Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC).
Meanwhile, on Rarotonga over the weekend,
police arrested three people – two of those being drivers, who tested over the
legal limit for alcohol.
The third person faces a charge of being
in contempt of court orders.
All three were remanded into custody at
Arorangi Prison, awaiting bail for court appearances
Police have also attended to excessive
noise complaints, drunken behaviour, minor traffic offences, and lost property