17 October 2008 - The New Zealand Police Association next week hosts the biennial conference of the International Council of Police Representative Associations (ICPRA) in Wellington from 19-22 October.
ICPRA is an international organisation representing the interests of more than 1.5 million law enforcement officers around the world. Delegates from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, North America, Australasia and South Africa are attending the Wellington conference. Greg O'Connor, President of the New Zealand Police Association, currently chairs ICPRA.
"Policing has an increasingly international element. Serious crime such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and child pornography is often trans-national. Threats to national security frequently have international roots. International cooperation and coordination is now a basic requirement of policing these kinds of crimes," Mr O'Connor said.
"At the same time, developed nations like New Zealand are increasingly called on to contribute policing experience and expertise offshore, through UN and other multilateral missions, to places like Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. European ICPRA members are now expected to deploy civilian police into the disputed Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the recent withdrawal of Russian troops.
"International requirements are shaping the development of police forces around the world, including in New Zealand, in ways that are only now beginning to be fully understood," Mr O'Connor said.
"Many of the decisions driving internationalisation are made by politicians and career diplomats , for whom police are rapidly becoming simply another tool of foreign policy. ICPRA aims to give police officers an effective voice, to ensure their unique knowledge of policing is taken into account, and their interests are protected.
"The conference theme is 'Advancing ICPRA'. Sessions will explore the drivers of the internationalisation of policing, global trends in restructuring of police forces, and how police associations can respond.
"The conference will also provide an opportunity for associations from around the world to compare experiences on many of the common issues we face, such as Tasers, and the increasing civilianisation of police," Mr O'Connor said.
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