Keeping Australia safe through police-led diplomacy

Andrew Colvin By Andrew Colvin, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) plays an essential role in shaping and delivering the Australian Government’s international engagement agenda.  Our international activities are critical to ensuring the safety of Australia and its people.

For this reason, the AFP has been highly engaged in the development of the Foreign Policy White Paper to ensure our international police efforts continue to protect and advance Australia’s national interests in the decade ahead.

Today’s global criminal environment is complex and borderless. Australia enjoys a reputation as a safe, free and wealthy country, but it is these very values that criminals seek to exploit.  Around 70 per cent of serious criminal threats in this country have an international dimension.

The AFP has 250 officers located in 33 countries around the world working to protect Australia and Australians.  We work to prevent and disrupt crime at its source and to build strong law and justice frameworks across our region.

One of the AFP’s key areas of emphasis is to contribute to Australia’s international law enforcement interests through cooperation with key international partners. Credit: Australian Federal Police.

The AFP is at the forefront of ‘police-led diplomacy’. There are very few countries that don’t share common objectives to defeat terrorism, defeat the abuse and exploitation of their children, and to curb the flow of drugs, money or guns. The AFP draws on these commonalities to establish longstanding police-to-police relationships. These relationships are not only the cornerstone of our efforts to cripple transnational crime,  they also support Australia’s broader diplomatic efforts by helping to stabilise and build resilience in Australia’s bilateral and regional relationships.

For example, the AFP’s relationship with the Indonesian National Police has for many years delivered outcomes that advance both Australian and Indonesian national interests and strengthen the foundation of our bilateral relationship.  The highly successful Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is another example of how our international police efforts enhance Australia’s reputation and influence abroad.

The AFP’s international police efforts will be instrumental in the decade ahead to ensure we can meet our vision of ‘Policing for a Safer Australia’.

RAMSI and Royal Solomon Islands Police patrol Honiara waterfront. Solomon Islands, 2003. Credit: Brian Hartigan, Australian Federal Police.

Andrew Colvin was appointed Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in October 2014, having joined the AFP in 1990.  He progressed through the ranks of the organisation investigating a range of serious and organised crime offences, particularly narcotic importations, money laundering, politically motivated crime and terrorist financing. Between 2002 and 2005 Andrew coordinated the national and international aspects of the AFP’s response to terrorism. This was followed by leadership opportunities as AFP Chief of Staff, National Manager of High Tech Crime Operations and a number of Deputy Commissioner roles prior to his appointment as Commissioner.

Leave a Reply