AFP expands its international reach in Europe

The AFP has set-up a new liaison office in Paris and is evaluating opening a post in Berlin to help further protect Australia by stopping crime at its source and enabling better intelligence sharing.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw met with Directors-General of the French National Police and the Gendarmerie Nationale in Paris to thank them for their unprecedented support.

The new post in Paris takes the AFP’s offshore presence to 34 countries, with more than 200 members based offshore. A 12-month feasibility study is being undertaken to determine the benefits of opening an AFP post in Berlin.

Commissioner Kershaw said the location of the Paris post was to support the AFP’s strategic objectives, which were centred on keeping Australians safe and protecting Australia’s interests.

“These strategic and necessary posts come at the time of significant instability in the world,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

“This new office in Paris is strengthening our ability to receive timely information and evidence. It is already allowing the AFP to collaborate on combating transnational serious organised crime, cybercrime and extremism.

Positioning the AFP permanently in France is providing the platform for greater police-to-police collaboration with the French, which are key strategic partners of Australia in the Indo-Pacific.

“The AFP’s Paris Post is supporting the broader strategic objectives to strengthen ties between the two countries through police-led diplomacy and enhance cooperation to counter threats in the Indo-Pacific region,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

“These strengthened ties are imperative for the AFP, which has more than 100 members based in Pacific Island nations, working closely with law enforcement partners.

He said the AFP was currently embedded in the Australian Embassy in Berlin to undertake the feasibility study for a German Post.

“A Berlin Post will drive stronger cooperation with the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (Bundeskriminalamt – BKA) and the Federal Office Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik – BSI).

“A post in Berlin could set the ground work for longer-term, strategic criminal forecasting and a provides the opportunity to work closely with the BKA and BSI on science and related technologies, including encrypted communications.

“It could also key in combatting the extremism and terrorism. German police also hold significant cybercrime leadership and expertise within Europe, via EUROPOL.”

Commissioner Kershaw said the AFP’s overseas network was a key strategy in keeping Australians safe.

“Where possible, the supply chain of criminality should be stopped at source countries – and the AFP is leveraging partnerships and capabilities to help prevent crime reaching our region or Australia. Doing this is far more effective and safer.”

Holger Muench, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said in a globalized and digitalized world, national borders no longer play an important role, even for internationally networked criminals. This applies in particular to the phenomena of organized crime, terrorism and cybercrime.

“Close cooperation between security authorities worldwide is therefore essential for successfully combating crime. Personal contact, personal exchange and the resulting trust are still essential,” Mr Muench said.

“The liaison officers – those of our cooperation partners working here as well as those of the BKA abroad – play an important role in this.

We are firmly convinced that the opening of an AFP liaison office in Germany would advance our good cooperation even further.”

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