Police Commissioner Matthew Varley said the meeting with other police chiefs across the Pacific was productive for our police force.
“The theme of that meeting was, Regional Drug Trafficking and the issue of Transnational Crime and Drugs across the pacific,” he told reporters at his weekly media conference on Thursday.
“...and it was a productive meeting where we were able to look at efforts that we can collectively do across all of the police forces to cooperate better on drug trafficking,” he added.
Varley attended the annual Pacific Islands Chief of Police forum that was held last week.
He said it was a combined meeting to also host the 2019 Pacific Island Women’s Advisory Network Conference, on which, he is the executive Chair.
“This is the annual forum for women in policing,” Varley said.
He attended the two days women in policing forum which started on Monday.
The Pacific Islands Chief of Police forum was held on Thursday and Friday.
“...obviously, Solomon Islands is not immune to the risks of drugs being shipped across the region.
“We have seen that on several occasions so it was a very good opportunity for me to meet with other chiefs and talk about how we can improve our cooperation, step up our efforts together,” the police chief said.
Varley said he also had the opportunity to meet with the president of Interpol, r Kim Jong Yang of South Korea.
Yang also visited the chiefs of police from Interpol headquarters.
“And I took the opportunity to present him with a RSIPF plaque and also to thank him for Interpol’s continued support in the first two years of our membership.”
The RSIPF joined Interpol at end of 2017.
“... and we are coming up for our second anniversary of having the Interpol Bureau established here in our Crime Department.
“So it was a great opportunity for me to thank Interpol formally for their continued assistance.
“And they have been providing training to our National Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) officers over the past two years.
“So that was a very productive meeting and a great opportunity for me to connect with the Pacific Island Chiefs of Police Varley further added.
Asked by a reporter if he also inform them on how we had dealt with cocaine smuggling that occurred last year, he said that was already reported through Our Pacific Transnational Crime Network.
Varley said they have, the Transnational Crime Unit in the police force.
He further explained that it is a small team established in the NCID and it is one of those in most o the pacific police forces.
“...and what they do is exchanging intelligence between each other.
“That is coordinated by the pacific transnational crime coordination centre in Samoa.”
Varley said the interesting thing about the meeting was that they had a number of presentations by experts in the field.
He said this includes some of their US Law Enforcement colleagues who had started to map and identify transit route from across the Pacific from places like the South American countries and United States.
And we should not be naïve to think that our waters are not being used as a thoroughfare for drug shipment from South America through to places like Australia and New Zealand.
“We know that is occurring.
“Our colleagues in places like Fiji and other parts of the pacific had already had significant seizures that we have where shipments are passing through our waters.
“So it is something that we are going to be extra vigilant on.
“But the key to that is good intelligence.
“You cannot find a needle in a haystack without good intelligence.
“So I am trying to figure out ways we can swap Intel with our colleagues from South Pacific and also from Australia and US to try and improve our efforts to combat this trade across our waters,” the police chief said.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN