Episode three - International Deployment Group

In this episode of AFP we follow two agents as they undertake pre-deployment training in Australia before they head to the Solomon Islands as part of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI).

But they are about to find out the island chain is an explosive mixture of ethnic tension and the local football grand final may just provide the spark for a boil over into riots.

When Australia’s neighbours are in crisis, the AFP is able to rapidly deploy officers to the hot spots. Australia has had peacekeepers in Cyprus since 1964, but only since 2004, has the Australian Government had a standing capacity to deploy police, through the International Deployment Group, to countries that need our help with security.

The Solomon Islands is one such place where ethnic violence, government misconduct and crime have undermined stability of the island nation for many years. In June 2003, the prevailing atmosphere of lawlessness, widespread extortion and ineffective police prompted a formal request by the Solomon Islands Government for outside help.

An Australian-led multinational force, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), arrived to restore peace, disarm ethnic militias and improve civil governance.

With the country bankrupt and the capital in chaos, RAMSI began its goal to restore law and order in the Pacific island nation. In the seven years since the arrival of RAMSI, the Solomon Islands Government and its people have been encouraged to help themselves. The aim is to get the Solomon Islands working, and the country growing again. RAMSI is helping create the conditions for Solomon Islanders to re-assume control of their country, their lives and their future.

The AFP-led Participating Police Force (PPF) is a key component in the success of the RAMSI mission. The PPF is made up of more than 250 personnel from 15 Pacific Island Forum nations, and Australia provides the largest number of personnel to the PPF.

Since the arrival of the RAMSI the justice system is working again; the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) is becoming a more professional, capable of maintaining law and order; government finances have been stabilised; peaceful elections held; civil servants are being paid on time; funding for health and education has increased; and the economic situation has vastly improved.

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