AFP helps Tonga Police keep communities safe online

The AFP has recently delivered a refreshed Cyber Safety Pasifika program to Tonga Police and other Pacific police partners in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

Cyber Safety Pasifika (CSP) was established by the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) in 2012, with the aim of building cyber resilience within Pacific communities and now includes upskilling Pacific police capability in cybercrime investigations.

The AFP, through the Pacific Police Development Program – Regional (PPDP-R), delivers CSP on behalf of the PICP throughout the Pacific.

The CSP team and representatives from Samoa Police, Prisons and Corrections Services (SPPCS) and New Zealand Police worked to refresh and update the program, contextualizing the content towards pacific communities, including filming a series of information sessions with participants and the Pacific community.

This was followed by a week-long workshop in Nuku’alofa with Pacific police representatives from Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Tuvalu and American Samoa to validate and add further context and value to this new program.

The refreshed Cyber Awareness and Education Community Officer program continues the CSP philosophy that programs are designed and delivered “by the Pacific, for the Pacific”.

The updated program was recently delivered to 24 police officers from Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, American Samoa, French Polynesia and Cook Islands where participants developed their presentation skills and cyber knowledge to be able to engage with their communities and deliver cyber safety messages.

At the end of the program, six of the participants presented to students from Tonga High School, teaching them valuable skills on how to stay safe online.

The CSP team also delivered an updated Cybercrime Investigations program to 21 Pacific police officers in Tonga over five days. Topics covered included understanding cyber and cyber enabled crime, cybercrime actors, digital evidence, cyber legislation and offences, intelligence gathering and information sharing.

The program was co-presented with members from AFP Cybercrime, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tonga and Samoa Police, New Zealand Police, the Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre, the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre, Tonga Attorney Generals Department and Tonga Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

While delivering these programs in Tonga, CSP was invited to take part in a cyber awareness day for local children. The AFP was offered the opportunity to stand side-by-side with Tonga Police and CERT, teaching children how to stay safe online.

AFP Detective Superintendent PPDP-R Kathryn Polkinghorne said the CSP programs were constantly evolving to keep up with the cybercrime environment.

“It is extremely important that we are engaging and involving the Pacific as we are constantly updating the Cyber Safety Pasifika program to ensure we are giving our Pacific police partners the best tools to combat cybercrime and educate their communities,” Det-Supt Polkinghorne said.

“We have listened to the needs of our partners and updated the programs to ensure their cyber capability continues to grow.”

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