AFP strengthens bonds with Pacific neighbours in 2022

An AFP and PNG police officer cut a red ribbon

Editor’s note: A breakdown of activities and images of the AFP’s work across the Pacific in 2022 are available via Hightail.

The AFP has worked closely with Pacific partners in 2022, delivering cyber training, supported anti-violence programs and helped support local policing initiatives.

The AFP has more than 100 members based in nine nations across the Pacific and delivered a range of regional capability development programs including support to the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN), to maintain safety and security.

The AFP also worked with Australian Government partners to provide capacity-building initiatives throughout the region.

AFP members live and are committed to the communities they serve, and donate care packages to those in need and provide sporting equipment to local sporting teams.    

Commander Pacific Melinda Phelan said the AFP had shown its commitment as the security partner of choice in supporting Pacific partners’ needs through bilateral and regional programs in 2022.

“The AFP has strong, enduring friendships across the Pacific, demonstrated through the sharing of resources and capability to ensure current and future security challenges and needs in the region are met,” Commander Phelan said.

“Our personnel are on the ground supporting local police forces to ensure they are well-equipped to respond to any challenges they may face. Some of these challenges – such as those presented by organised crime groups trafficking drugs through the region – are a direct result of Australia’s insatiable appetite for illegal drugs.       

“The role of the AFP in the Pacific extends beyond just having people on the ground. Our members are embedded in various communities, learning just as much as they are giving back.

“We are honoured to be so welcomed in these communities.”

It was also a year of milestones for programs the AFP is involved in across the Pacific. The AFP led Cyber Safety Pasifika (CSP) program celebrated 10 years of increasing cyber safety awareness and education of vulnerable communities in the Pacific region. The PTCN celebrated its 20th anniversary leading the fight against transnational crime across the Pacific region, and the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) celebrated 50 years of 21 Pacific policing jurisdictions coming together to build safer and more secure communities in the Pacific. 

Pacific Police Development Program Regional

The AFP remained committed to enhancing engagement and fostering collaboration with each local police force in the Pacific region in 2022. The AFP supported each region with response and recovery efforts following crisis events through the Pacific Police Development Program Regional (PPDP-R) and initiatives such as Pacific Community for Law Enforcement Cooperation (PCLEC) and Cyber Safety Pasifika.

In 2022:

  • Members of the PPDP-R team travelled to meet with the Kiribati Police Service (KPS) executive and key partners strengthening the relationship face to face and enhancing AFP’s understanding of the KPS capabilities;
  • The AFP-led CSP program returned to Fiji, increasing cyber safety awareness and education of vulnerable communities in the Pacific region;
  • The AFP hosted Pacific police members in Canberra for a Cyber Safety Pasifika trainer development program upskilling members that deliver Cyber Safety Pasifika training throughout the Pacific;
  • PPDP-R continued its Seconded Pacific Officer program and welcomed members from Tonga Police and the Fiji Police Force who took the lead on developing capability development initiatives for the Pacific to ensure they are tailored to local context; and
  • After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to Covid-19, PPDP-R hosted a forum for PCLEC National Coordinators and the Pacific Police Training Advisory Group from across the Pacific in Brisbane building stronger networks and enhanced partnerships.

Solomon Islands

The AFP further strengthened its close partnership with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in 2022 to help boost its operational capability to protect and serve the Solomon Islands community through the RSIPF and AFP Policing Partnership Program (RAPPP) and Solomons’ International Assistance Force (SIAF).

In 2022:

  • The AFP refurbished Naha Police Station;
  • Construction began on a new Kukum Police Station;
  • The new Wagina Police Station was officially opened;
  • Victim support packages were donated to the Christian Care Centre at Tenaru;
  • AFP and RSIPF officers visited various local schools to engage with students on the role of police; and
  • The SIAF worked closely with the RSIPF throughout the year to maintain law and order in Honiara following unrest in November last year.


The AFP continued to build on the strong partnership with the Samoa Police, Prisons and Corrections Services (SPPCS) in 2022 through the Samoa-Australia Police Partnership (SAPP).

In 2022:

  • Three new advisors sourced through the Australia Assists Program joined the SAPPP to support gender, training and policy initiatives; 
  • Forensic vehicles and equipment were donated to the Samoa Police Forensic Project;
  • A fingerprint laboratory refurbished ensuring SPPCS forensics have the latest equipment to undertake their work;
  • A total of four SPPCS members graduated from tertiary studies in 2022, funded by the AFP-led SAPP Scholarship program; and
  • The SAPPP rolled out various training and education programs through the year, including in first aid, digital forensics, cyber investigations, drone training and executive coaching.


The AFP worked closely with Tonga Police in 2022, though multiple programs including The Tonga Australia Policing Partnership (TAPP), the Families Free of Violence program (FFOV), Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN), the PPDP-R and through the Pacific Transnational Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce.

In 2022:

  • The AFP, through the TAPP and PCLEC provided critical resources to support Tonga Police and the community following the devastating eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga Ha’apao volcano in January;
  • The AFP welcomed new Tonga Police Commissioner Shane McLennan;
  • The TAPP worked in collaboration with Tonga Police and the New Zealand Transnational Crime Unit to keep Tonga safe once international borders reopened; and
  • The FFOV unveiled new billboards with the NRL and Tonga’s Voice Against Violence Program.


The AFP continued to provide support to the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) in 2022, through the Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice Program (VAPJP).

In 2022:

  • The AFP supported the VPF launch the Organisational Performance Study, which was the first critical study into the current state of policing in Vanuatu since 2003;
  • The AFP, with the support of Cyber Safety Pasifika, facilitated a training workshop on cryptocurrency for Vanuatu law enforcement agencies to help build their capacity in the field;
  • The VAPJP, , handed over Vanuatu’s first Toyota Landcruiser to help VPF members respond to remote and rural areas of Northern Vanuatu;
  • The AFP supported the VPF during the snap election in October;
  • Three new Tuff Boats were donated to the outer Island Police Posts; and
  • Members of the final VPF recruit course of 2022 graduated, including 36 per cent female recruits.


The AFP worked closely with the Fiji Police Force (FPF) through a number of initiatives in 2022.

In 2022:

  • Fiji hosted the PICP annual conference, which was attended by AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw;
  • The AFP, through the PPDP-R further strengthened the FPF’s forensic capability by officially opening a new Digital Forensics Lab;
  • Supported by the AFP, FPF opened the Northern Division Command and Coordination Centre and Maritime Command Centres, strengthening their incident command and control capabilities;
  • Female FPF officers took part in a month-long women’s leadership and skills enhancement program; and
  • The AFP sponsored FPF’s Taveuni women’s rugby team to give them their first ever jerseys and promote women’s empowerment.

Papua New Guinea

The AFP and Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) have a deep and trusted police-to-police partnership that reflects PNG’s and Australia’s status as close neighbours and Pacific policing family with shared values and mutual security interests.

In 2022:

  • AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw and RPNGC Commissioner David Manning renewed the Papua New Guinea-Australia Policing Partnership (PNG-APP) agreement which will be in place until 2026; 
  • The AFP worked closely with RPNGC during the 2022 National Election, delivering various training courses in the lead up;
  • The historical Boroko Police Station was officially re-opened after a significant refurbishment delivered through PNG-APP; and
  • The AFP assisted the RPNGC implement a Digital Forensic capability.


The AFP continued to work closely with the Nauru Police Force (NPF) in 2022 to assist them in their areas of need following the COVID-19 pandemic through the Nauru-Australia Policing Partnership (NAPP).

In 2022:

  • AFP provided advisory and leadership support to the NPF Executive;
  • The AFP also helped the NPF improve their handling and interviewing of vulnerable witnesses; and
  • Helped the NPF implement a digital record of interview system.


Gender equality was a big focus of the AFP’s Timor Leste Police Development Program (TLPDP) in 2022, to support the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL).

In 2022:

  • A gender audit of PNTL was undertaken to proactively examine and understand the issues within the organisation;
  • Twenty-eight PNTL female officers successfully completed a six-month leadership program designed to equip the officers with skills to advance their careers;
  • Three training programs were delivered in specialised Sexual Assault and Child Abuse (SACA) investigations and a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) investigations course.
  • The TLPDP also officially opened a new PNTL Information Communications Technology (ICT) Centre after the old centre was severely damaged due to flooding in 2021.

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