Understanding the Pacific

The New Zealand Police Commissioner recently commented on the challenges of policing the pacific. Commissioner Howard Broad spoke of providing assistance to other police services, and he noted “Inevitably, the first step is to develop the trust and confidence between donor and recipient – that is the basis of all human interactions.”

“When I sit down and talk with my counterparts from across the Pacific, once I have their confidence that I understand them as human beings, that we have offered each other the respect due each other, and this includes overcoming an inherent shyness on the part of Pacific people, they have plenty to say about their needs. “

The Commissioner concluded his commentary with “Sometimes going to places like Samoa, the Solomons, Timor Leste and Rarotonga points out to us that regardless of the operating environment the principles of decent policing are the same.”

These comments struck a chord with the various activities that make up the PPDVP. At the recent Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) meeting in Samoa a group of the Micronesian chiefs of police raised the need for support around domestic violence knowledge, understanding and training in their three countries. Each has diverse needs but the underlying theme is that they wish to do the best for their people, and to deal with these crimes and the harm they cause.

Providing assistance to the countries in Micronesia is no simple matter – most of them are at least two days travel from New Zealand, often meaning up to four “sometimes connecting” flights each way, and the countries themselves are mostly made up of a series of small communities on scattered islands. The PPDVP will listen to the local police, discuss their problems and see how we can help them over the next few months.

At the time that this edition of the PPDVP News reaches you, a series of gender based violence surveys in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati will have been released. The picture painted in these two surveys is not a pretty one with extremely high levels of violence, both physical and sexual, committed against women by their partners and within their communities. These surveys will bring a spotlight on to the pacific. The PPDVP is responding to identify ways in which we assist the local police to reduce harm to the victims, their families and society.

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