AFP continue assistance to East Timor | Pacific Beat

AFP continue assistance to East Timor

AFP continue assistance to East Timor

Updated 28 December 2012, 13:42 AEDT

Australian soldiers might be drawing down from East Timor along with United Nations peacekeepers but East Timor is not on its own.

Australia's one country that will continue to train the nation's police force. It's doing so through a program run by the Australian Federal Police. The Australian officers are not out on the front line but are working behind the scenes helping build up the capacity of Timor's police force to maintain peace and security.

Presenter: Sara Everingham

Speakers: Cillian Nolan from the International Crisis Group, Commander Charmaine Quade, Australian Federal Police, Lino Saldanha, Timor Leste police officer and Alfonso de Jesus, Timroese Police Commissioner

EVERINGHAM: The end of the United nations peackeeping mission means East Timor no longer has the safety net of foreign peacekeepers.

But for some time Timor's leaders have been saying they're keen for East Timor to stand on its own, while continuing to develop their security forces with the help of countries such as Australia.

Commander Charmaine Quade is overseeing the police development program in East Timor run by the Australian Federal Police.
QUADE:  We have 33 members from the Australian federal police here, we are unaccompanied so for two years the members are away from their families, their loved ones and their friends, and it shows that strong drive that they have to make that change for enhancing the policing development here in Timor Leste.
EVERINGHAM: The AFP program is helping build the capacity of Timor's police force in areas including investigations, management and governance.
QUADE: They've come a long way when you bear in mind that they're a very young police force, 12 years old only and they've done remarkably well in that very short space of time. What we're doing is just providing enhancement and looking at systems and practices and procedures, actually sort of embellish what they have in place now. 
POLICEMAN: Ok just a quick summary of what we're doing...
EVERINGHAM: Today senior members of the Timorese police force are in a management training course.
One of them is Lino Saldanha, a police officer who's been in Timor's force since the beginning. He says courses like this are critical as the UN peacekeepers leave.
SALDANHA: It's time for us to learn and this time is good for how to get the responsibility and not talk too much, but how to do it, this is very important for us.
EVERINGHAM: East Timor's police force took over full responsibility for policing more than 18 months ago.
The Commissioner of police Alfonso de Jesus says he has confidence in his force.
DE JESUS: Still the situation all over Timor Leste is quiet and calm. it means that everyone is contributing to the stability and peace. So we expect that will be continuing for the future. 
EVERINGHAM: Alfonso de Jesus says the force is taking steps to improve discipline. 
Cillian Nolan, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group says investigations is also an area of weakness that needs work.
NOLAN: When you talk to police commanders they often say that one of their biggest frustrations is in the area of investigations. The police are unable to produce the kind of investigations that will lead to convictions in areas of recurring crime. And so we're talking about things like fighting between youths that turns violent.
EVERINGHAM: Cillian Nolan says improving investigations could help maintain stability in the long term.
NOLAN: Communities often feel that they know exactly who the culprits are but they're unable to get the kind of evidence that will produce a conviction. If there seems to be no kind of righting of the wrongs that have been committed you can sometimes get a cycle of violence in certain areas.


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