Peters announces two more years support for Tonga‘s police

New Zealand is to provide an additional two years of support to Tonga‘s police force to strengthen its capacity to disrupt transnational crime.

New Zealand‘s foreign minister Winston Peters speaks at the Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers meeting in Suva, Fiji last Friday. Photo: Supplied / Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

New Zealand‘s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters made the announcement today during a visit by Tonga‘s Minister of Police, Mateni Tapueluelu.

Mr Peters said New Zealand was committed to confronting “the scourge of criminal gangs and organised crime” causing harm in Pacific Islands communities.

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In February, New Zealand signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia, Tonga and Fiji to target transnational and organised crime in the Pacific.

New Zealand, Tonga and Australia will jointly fund a programme that will see New Zealand Police officers seconded to the Tonga Police to provide training and technical assistance.

In April, the island nation‘s police commissioner Stephen Caldwell said the renewal of Tonga‘s membership of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), would help Tonga meet the threat of cross-border crime, including drug trafficking.

Tonga rejoined INTERPOL in November last year after a 12-year hiatus from the organisation.

Mr Caldwell said crime was becoming more complex and Tongan police needed to strengthen co-operation with other agencies.

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