Suva, Fiji, June 18, 2021- Helping OCO members’ combat transnational crimes is critical to the regional effort to keep our Pacific borders safe, says OCO Head of Secretariat, Richard Brennan.
“We are more effective as a region if we all work together to fight transnational crimes, which are increasing during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Brennan adds. “Training and continuing to build the capacity of our 23 member countries is one of the ways we can combat transnational crimes because knowledge is so important to know and understand what we are up against.”
This week, OCO and Australian Border Force (ABF) held another training on the use of the Pacific Small Craft Application (PSCA), a mobile app developed by the Australian Department of Home Affairs and ABF for the OCO members to collect data on the movement of small craft vessels in the Pacific.
“We have a very useful tool that will help members collect data on the movement of small craft vessels. Customs officers in the region will be able to use the app to capture data when boarding small craft vessels such as yachts but equally important that they are appropriately resourced and know how to use the app,” OCO Operations Manager, Irma Daphney Stone said.
“It is also important to note that there will be uniformity in the region in the use of the app, this is a breakthrough for the region as all members and more importantly all ports of entry in the Pacific will be able to capture and monitor yacht movements on the app. “
OCO and ABF are also using the opportunity to train officers who will be regional coordinators and members of the PSCA Regional Coordinators Forum. These coordinators will manage the administrative needs of the app as well conduct training on the use of the app in their own administrations.
“These coordinators are critical to the successful implementation and use of the app. Through these coordinators, we may be able to see if there should be any process improvements at the border or if there should be new features added to the app,” Mrs. Stone said.
Small craft remain a high threat to all countries in the Pacific for a number of illicit activities, including the movement of weapons, drugs and people. The PSCA will be adding value to intelligence gathering on small crafts and prepares the Pacific to take proactive approaches for any suspicious craft movement.
Since November last year to May 2021 we had trained 64 Customs and Immigration officers and this week we had 37 officers from 15 countries trained.
For more information or for any queries, please contact the Secretariat or email: firstname.lastname@example.org