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The AFP’s role and purpose

As Australia’s national policing agency, the AFP is a key member of the Australian law enforcement and national security community, leading efforts to keep Australians and Australian interests safe both at home and overseas.

The AFP’s vision—policing for a safer Australia—reflects its core functions as legislated in section 8 of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (Cth) (AFP Act) and is informed by associated Ministerial Directions issued under section 37(2) of the AFP Act.

Figure 2.1 The AFP’s core functions  • Provide policing services to the Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay and Australia’s external territories. • Policing Commonwealth law, safeguarding Commonwealth interests and investigation of state offences that have a federal aspect. • Domestic engagement and cooperation to disrupt crime and keeps Australians safe. • Offshore peace, stability and security operations, capacity building missions and capability development. • Protection of Commonwealth infrastructure, places and property. • Protection of designated high office holders, dignitaries and witnesses. • Removing property or wealth from criminals that has been illegally obtained. • Assist international policing and non-government bodies to disrupt crime and support regional security, safety and stability. • Any other policing functions essential to keeping Australians and Australian interests safe including protective and custodial services.

Figure 2.2 Links between the AFP’s Portfolio Budget Statements, outcomes and programs Diagram showing the AFP's vision, mission, outcomes and programs. The AFP vision is policing for a safer Australia. The AFP mission is "as Australia's national policing agency, we protect Australians and Australia's interests". Outcome 1 relates to reduced criminal and security threats to Australia's collective economic and societal interests through cooperative policing services. Under Outcome 1 there are two programs. Program 1.1 which is federal policing and national security. The second program is Program 1.2 which is international police assistance. Outcome 2 relates to a safe and secure environment through policing activities on behalf of the Australian Capital Territory Government. Under Outcome 2 there is one program, Program 2.1 which relates to ACT community policing.

Outcome 1

Outcome 1 captures the AFP’s national and international policing activity and provision of specialist protective services. This activity draws on a wide range of AFP capabilities, including operational, support and strategic assets. These capabilities address threats that can originate domestically or internationally and can emerge quickly in response to developments in areas such as technology.

Operational activity under Outcome 1 involves:

  • a local, national and international presence
  • close and effective engagement with our partners, with the AFP being Australia’s lead agency for international law enforcement collaboration
  • a range of proactive and reactive approaches including deterrence, prevention, disruption, investigation and intelligence gathering
  • a flexible capability base that can support a broad range of work and is responsive to routine business, critical incidents and new crime types
  • the provision of specialist protective services for Commonwealth interests.

Outcome 1 involves two programs:

Program 1.1: Federal Policing and National Security

Program 1.1 reduces criminal and national security threats by promoting the safety and security of Australian communities and infrastructure; preventing, deterring, disrupting and investigating serious and organised crime and crimes of Commonwealth significance; and ensuring effective collaboration with international, Commonwealth, state and territory partners.

Program 1.2: International Police Assistance

Program 1.2 reduces criminal and national security threats through delivery of collaborative law and order police development missions, participation in internationally mandated peace operations and provision of civil policing assistance in accordance with Australian foreign development policy priorities.

Outcome 2

Outcome 2 reflects the AFP’s community policing capability delivered to the ACT through ACT Policing. ACT Policing delivers a policing service in accordance with the Policing Arrangement between the Commonwealth and ACT governments to provide a safe and secure environment.

ACT Policing’s performance is assessed against the Commonwealth framework under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) (PGPA Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule), in Chapter 3 of this report. ACT Policing is also subject to the ACT performance framework, under the 2017–2021 Purchase Agreement (available at https://police.act.gov.au/about-us/government-directions).