New Zealand Police are to work more closely with their counterparts from Australia, Tonga and Fiji in a multinational effort to tackle organised crime.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says an agreement signed today in Sydney by the New Zealand Commissioner of Police Mike Bush will formalise the already strong relationship between Police forces across the Pacific.
“The new Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates the commitment of New Zealand Police to tackling the scourge of organised crime. The MoU establishes a new Transnational, Serious and Organised Crime Pacific Taskforce,” Mr Nash says.
“The Taskforce will make it easier for Police from the four nations to jointly investigate and disrupt criminal groups like gangs, to target criminals using small craft to transport illicit drugs, and to share operational intelligence.
“Drug trafficking, cybercrime and child exploitation occurs across borders. These crimes cause harm to our communities. We need to deter these offences and bring organised criminal groups to justice.
“The Pacific Taskforce sends a very clear message to New Zealand-based offenders, criminal gangs and transnational networks – you will be pursued in this country and across the Pacific region.
“A commitment to go hard on organised crime was a key part of the Coalition Agreement with New Zealand First. Extra Police are being deployed for crime prevention and ensuring safety of our homes, neighbourhoods and businesses. This is central to our efforts to enhance the wellbeing of families and communities.
“We will continue to engage closely with our Pacific counterparts to develop their capability to combat transnational crime. This not only improves our national security, but also security of the region,” Mr Nash says.