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150 New Zealand Police to assist Samoa during CHOGM 2024

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 03 AUGUST 2023: The New Zealand Government is to provide 150 police officers to assist Samoa’s police during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Apia in October 2024.

The Police Commissioner, Auapaau Logoitino Filipo confirmed with Talamua that parts of Samoa’s police security preparations are looking at specific areas of expertise from their partners around the region.

“New Zealand has already committed 150 police officers to assist us in certain areas during the meeting and we are very grateful for the assistance,” said Auapaau.

He said Samoa has hosted big conferences in the past such as the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) but CHOGM will be far, the biggest ever and he does not want to take chances with security.

200 auxiliary police
The Commissioner is looking at 2000 police officers to man the conference and is looking at recruiting 200 auxiliary police to assist.

He hopes to recruit members of the Ex-Police Association as they already have the expertise as law enforcers.

“We are looking at 1000 from the local police force itself, then 200 auxiliaries, New Zealand team and also at least 2 from each country in the region,” said Auapaau.

He is confident that they will have secured the number needed by the time of the conference.

A request to Australia for a warship on standby
Like the SIDS conference where there was a cruise ship to cater for additional accommodation, Auapaau said there will also be a cruise ship docked at the Matautu wharf for the same purpose and his concern is the security around the harbour vicinity.

The Commissioner said his ministry will also seek assistance from its partners for a warship on stand-by for surveillance purposes and the capability for search, rescue or evacuation if a situation arises,” he said.

Minister & Commissioner of Police
Minister & Commissioner of Police

The Minister of Police, Faualo Harry Schuster and the Commissioner of Police , Auapaau Logoitino Filipo.

Motorcycle skills
Fiji is currently the centre for the regions police motorcycle training and Auapaau said they already approached them to assist with training the local police.

He is also expecting a team from the Fijian police to be part of the conference security team.

United States offers assistance
Auapaau and the Minister for Police Faualo Harry Schuster recently returned from signing the United States Partnership Program where they met some of the country’s top security leaders in Nevada.

Faualo told Talamua that although the United States is not a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, they have offered assistance and are willing to come onboard.

“We have not discussed the specific areas of their assistance but we are grateful to have as much assistance we could get to ensure top notch hosting for the conference,” said Auapaau.

It will be the first time the meeting is hosted by a small island nation and will be His Majesty King Charles 111’s first official duty as the new Head of the Commonwealth since his coronation on 5 May this year.

The Commonwealth of Nations is made up of 54 diverse countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific and most will send the heads of their governments to the meeting that is held every four years.