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Australian Federal Police - Platypus Journal/Magazine

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Palmer, Mick --- "AFP repositions to deliver law enforcement in an age of globalisation and high technology" [1998] AUFPPlatypus 14; (1998) 59 Platypus: Journal of the Australian Federal Police, Article 2

AFP repositions to deliver law enforcement in an age of globalisation and high technology

By Commissioner Mick Palmer

During the next five years, independent assessments forecast that Australia's criminal environment will be affected increasingly by globalisation of the world economy and the convergence of communications and technology. In this edition of Platypus a wide cross section of authors examine the impact of computer technology on criminal, social and organisational life.

These articles demonstrate the connection between the increased economic activities crucial to Australia's future prosperity in terms of becoming a leading financial centre in Asia and a strong player in the international information economy, and the opportunities which that creates for illegal activity. It is clear that the security of the intellectual property which underpins information and information services will be a cornerstone in achieving such prosperity.

The key to the AFP positioning itself to respond to the challenges of this environment is the professionalism and flexibility of its people. The AFP needs to attract, develop and retain high quality core police personnel, who must be supported by people with specialist competencies and skills, particularly in the areas of computer crime, communications and forensic accounting, in countering the numerous types of computer and communications crime which are emerging.

New technologies, crime opportunities and trends are continually appearing and the desirability for international cooperation and coordination between law enforcement agencies has become a necessity. The AFP plays a crucial role internationally through its overseas liaison officer network and its involvement in Interpol.

Announcements by the Prime Minister earlier this year that his government "has a very keen eye to an Australian Federal Police Force ready to tackle the crimes of an increasingly globalised world of the 21st century"; that "Australia deserves a Commonwealth law enforcement agency that is second to none in the world"; and that whilst a reform process to enable the AFP to develop into such an agency was under way "it will not succeed unless resourcing decisions are geared to the vision we have for the AFP" are demonstrations of the fundamental commitment of the Government to the future of our organisation. We must, however, recognise that with this commitment comes a real and quite proper expectation of high levels of accountability and relevant productivity.

Certain aspects of the Prime Minister's announcements concerning the restructuring and resourcing of the AFP assume critical importance in terms of the issues raised in this edition's articles. Of particular relevance is the Prime Minister's announcement that the government has made special funding available of $4.7 million to enable the immediate commencement of a program to re-skill the organisation, particularly in the areas of computer and communications crime and forensic accounting.

This program necessitates the targeted early cessation of personnel who are assessed as being unable to work effectively because of technological and other changes to our functions and work methodology caused by the present and emerging environment, or to be retrained for the new and emerging roles. As part of the program some of these people will be replaced by people with more appropriate skills. The reprofiling program is designed to better prepare and equip the AFP to meet the demands and challenges of the next five years and beyond, and to ensure we are able to achieve the outputs and outcomes expected of us by the federal government.

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