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Issue No. 374 October 2013

Community policing gains traction in Timor-Leste

The collaboration between New Zealand Police and our counterparts in Timor-Leste has borne fruit over the past 14 months with the creation, development and ongoing success of the Timor-Leste Community Policing Programme (TLCPP).

The four-year, bilateral programme continues to strengthen relationships between Polisia Nasional Timor-Leste (PNTL) and locals, encourage police engagement with communities and to enhance levels of visibility and professionalism within the PNTL.

For Inspector Patrick Handcock, normally Palmerston North Area Commander, and currently Aileu district mentor, the sight of a PNTL officer standing in the middle of a river engaging with local dam workers was proof of progress in community policing.

“We are witnessing evidence of significant change within PNTL culture and how they interact with local communities, especially in those difficult areas,” says Patrick.

As well as New Zealand Police, the TLCPP is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Asia Foundation and the US Agency for International Development.

The agencies recently attended the 2014 TLCPP strategic planning workshop in Dili.

“Such partnerships are beneficial in promoting crime prevention," says Patrick.

"They can help the PNTL recognise high risks of crime in their communities before issues escalate”.

The TLCPP is currently focusing on specific areas of concern including family violence and youth offending.

During 2014, Police will deploy additional staff to combat these issues, focusing on the prevention and reduction of crime.

The Aileu mentoring team - Senior Constable Keith Jordan, centre, and Inspector Pat Handcock, right, with PNTL Chief Agent Domingos Ximenes and an impressive Timorese landscape.   Timorese children such as these can look forward to a more stable future as police deepen engagement with local communities.
Photo: Inspector Pat Handcock, TLCPP   Photo: Inspector Pat Handcock, TLCPP

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