The Government of New Zealand (NZ) intends to increase its assistance to Vanuatu, in terms of policing and security.
NZ will join Australia to step up its technical assistance to support community policing, the New Zealand High Commissioner Schwas to Vanuatu, Jonathan Schwass, announced in a press conference.
“We (NZ Government, through its High Commission in Port Vila) will be providing officers to equip the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) with expertise to address the rising problem of crime in communities,” he said.
“We will be flying in three officers from NZ soon to help the VPF in specialist areas.
“These officers will be working closely with their local counterparts to support the office of Commander North, Commander South and VPF Headquarters to provide expertise in areas as investigation.
“They will be working with the law enforcement officers on the policing method of preventing crime before it happens.
“They will be reaching out to communities to tackle crime.”
Commissioner Schwass said they are in the process of appointing the team leader of the group.
NZ High Commission has initially announced that NZ Government will provide Vt540 million in policing supporting, including the deployment of the three officers to advice on community and preventative policing, road policing, prosecutions and investigations.
NZ and Vanuatu have worked together in the law enforcement and justice sectors for a long time.
Commissioner Schwass said they are now looking to extend that cooperation by providing additional support to VPF and significantly stepping-up their defence assistance.
This will build on NZ’s existing defence ties with Vanuatu, which include the secondment of a NZ Defence Force Warrant Officer to the VMF’s Engineer Platoon, and joint training exercises and maritime patrols, he said.
“Vanuatu is an important partner for NZ in the Pacific, and we are pleased to be stepping up our cooperation on security issues,” he said.
“We want to do more than in the past years.”
He added the plans to expand assistance to VPF came about following discussions with the Minister of Internal Affairs, VPF and development partners as Australia which is already active in policing in Vanuatu.
“Last year was the year of planning and this year 2019 will be our year for delivery”, said Commissioner Schwass.