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Results for Outcome 1: Reduced criminal and security threats to Australia’s collective societal and economic interests through cooperative policing services

Program 1.1 Federal Policing and National Security performance measures and results

1.1 Community confidence

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 26

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

61%

69%

75%

No

In April 2020 the AFP commissioned a survey to gauge Australian community confidence in the AFP’s contribution to law enforcement and national security (see Figure 3.3). The AFP engaged Colmar Brunton to carry out the survey.

Of those surveyed, 69 per cent gave a high confidence rating (8 or more out of 10). While this did not meet the target of 75 per cent, the result was significantly stronger than in 2019.

Figure 3.3 Survey details A summary of the community confidence survey set-up. The survey was conducted over the phone by an external provider, with mostly closed questions. There were 1000 respondents and 82% response rate. There were 49% male, 51% female and 0% Gender X/indeterminate respondents. The respondents' education was mainly at the tertiary level, with 42% having studied at university. 85% of respondents were Ausralian citizens. The results from other jurisdictions ranged from 75% in the UK to 77% in Canada and 79% in Australia, which was all state and territory police.

Confidence was similar across gender and age, although those aged 18–34 gave a rating of 60 per cent while those aged 75 and over gave a rating of 75 per cent. Nationality did make a difference: Australian dual citizens generally expressed lower levels of confidence (a rating of 58 per cent). The ACT had the highest confidence score (83 per cent).

High ratings were based on general perceptions of the service like ‘the AFP did a good job’ or they ‘had trust in what they do’—28 per cent and 16 per cent respectively of high confidence rating respondents said this. Few of these respondents were influenced by their personal interactions with the AFP or how well they thought the AFP policed drugs or terrorism or handled the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, almost half of those with low confidence levels said they lacked knowledge of the service.

The survey found that generally people source information about the AFP from TV or radio news and TV or radio current affairs programs: 74 per cent of respondents said they had used TV or radio news and 85 per cent of respondents said they had used TV or radio current affairs programs. The next most common source was online news websites at 57 per cent.

In 2018–19, respondents generally had low levels of knowledge about what the AFP does. In 2019–20 the results showed uneven knowledge. For example, when respondents were asked how they would rate their knowledge of AFP responsibilities, 12 per cent rated their knowledge as high, the same as last year; and 43 per cent rated it as low. However, when respondents were asked to list AFP responsibilities unprompted, 15 per cent of participants answered that they ‘didn’t know’—this figure is probably more accurate than the 43 per cent. Further, when asked to nominate AFP tasks unprompted, the free-form answers showed that respondents did know what the AFP did but there was no shared or dominant view. The highest rated responsibility, ‘border protection’, interpreted as dealing with drugs at the border, was identified by only 31 per cent of respondents. It seems people know the kinds of things the AFP does, but there is no common shared view of our priorities.

This inference is supported by respondents’ responses when asked to rate the importance of various AFP responsibilities. The survey listed our responsibilities and asked respondents to rate them from low to very high importance. Of the nine responsibilities tested, seven were rated as ‘very important’. Almost all respondents (96 per cent and 94 per cent) rated victim-based crime and terrorism as very important; these responsibilities were given much higher ratings than our other responsibilities. For example, 87 per cent of respondents rated the responsibility ‘dealing with organised crime including illegal drug importation’ as very important; and 88 per cent rated ‘protecting international airports’ as very important. This shows the challenge for the AFP in delivering work across a broad remit: the community views most of the tasks we perform to be of similarly high importance. It also reflects positively on the alignment between AFP operational priorities and community sentiment—for example, counter-terrorism and leading responses to human exploitation were rated as ‘very important’ and they were also operational imperatives in 2019–20.

The increased level of satisfaction may reflect the new Commissioner’s strategy of increasing media engagement and communication. Media liaison officers have been appointed in the Eastern, Southern and Western commands. We have increased the number of media releases we issue and we proactively issue information on sentencing outcomes. We have also developed the AFP’s social media presence. Media officers in the commands attend operational briefings so they can proactively identify opportunities for media engagement and communication. The AFP now has Assistant Commissioners in regions, and this has also increased media engagement. Assistant Commissioners are encouraged to make themselves available for interviews, and they are taking more of these opportunities.

The Commissioner also identified and addressed key public relations issues such as the warrants on ABC and News Corporation journalists in June 2019. He commissioned an independent review in October 2019 of the AFP’s handling of sensitive investigations and has committed to making changes in line with the review’s recommendations.

At a more granular level, we use community outreach through crime prevention activities to increase community communication and engagement. This work may in turn influence community confidence ratings.

In 2019–20 the AFP ran a sworn recruitment campaign. We conducted recruitment advertising predominantly on social media and in all capital cities and larger regional centres (for example, Bendigo, Dubbo and Shepparton). Staff also participated in school career expos. We wrote to all private girls’ schools in Australia and asked them to include articles about our work in school newsletters as a way to bolster female recruitment. These awareness-raising activities should result in an improvement in overall understanding of AFP activities and brand recognition.

1.2a Return on investment—transnational crime

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 26

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

3.6

10.3

Positive return (i.e. >1)

Yes

The AFP’s two return on investment (ROI) measures rate our efficiency in key types of work to show public value. The first of these, the Transnational ROI, examines drug and financial crime work.

The Transnational ROI is based on drugs and financial crime investigations finalised within the financial year, regardless of when the drug seizure or financial crime occurred. It is calculated by dividing the saving in social harm by the costs (including staffing and legal) of these investigations. The AFP uses two measures to calculate the Transnational ROI: the drug harm index (DHI) and the estimated financial return (EFR):

  • The DHI calculates the social harm that would have occurred had the drugs seized by the AFP been consumed by the Australian community (see Figure 3.4). It estimates social harms depending on drug type; for example, the social harms caused by heroin are different to those caused by methamphetamine.
  • The EFR calculates the social cost of financial crime by estimating the harm that would have occurred if money involved in the crime had been retained by criminals and used for illicit purposes.

Figure 3.4 Transnational return on investment calculation and social harm A diagram about the return on investment, which considers benefit over costs, which is derived from the drug harm index and estimated financial return.

The Transnational ROI result of 10.3 is significantly higher than last year’s result of 3.6 (see Figure 3.5). The increase was driven by the finalisation of several drug investigations. This year two cases involving particularly large drug seizures were finalised: Operation Sweeney/Jacaranda (Southern Command, in which 876 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized, with a DHI value of $410 million); and Operation Roselle (Eastern Command; 575 kilograms of methamphetamine; DHI value $164 million). By comparison the largest DHI for a case finalised in 2018–19 was Operation Collage (Eastern Command; DHI $190 million) and only three cases involved a DHI of over $100 million.

Figure 3.5 Return on investment for transnational crime, 2015–16 to 2019–20 A graph showing the return on investment for transnational crime results from 2015-16 to 2019-20. The results trended up to a peak of 16.2 in 2017-18 and has dropped to 10.3 for 2019-20. The graph also shows the drug harm index that followed a similar trend.

Relatively few financial investigations with large initial fraud estimates were finalised in 2019–20, leading to a continued drop in EFR. This result reflects the fact that fraud matters are often progressed by other agencies, given their increasing investigative maturity; the time taken for the AFP to investigate; the relative priority of financial crime cases; and the increasing use of non-prosecutorial treatments in this space. This last point in particular indicates that the financial component of this result is an underestimate. Despite this, the performance criterion was still very clearly met.

The ROI is sensitive to operational strategy—for example, offshore police liaison may reduce a syndicate’s illicit drugs imports into Australia, leading to fewer and smaller domestic seizures. This in turn lowers the DHI. The ROI should alter with time and with the adoption of prevention and especially multi-agency treatments and disruptions.

Since the AFP adopted its harm indexes, other agencies have developed similar indexes using varying methodologies. The AFP updates its index components, but the frameworks have remained relatively stable and focused on enforcement outcomes. The AFP examined other indexes over 2019–20 and will continue to examine external developments for additional ways to report harm averted and ROI in light of the AFP’s operationally diverse focuses and its need to maximise outcomes within the existing AFP footprint.

1.2b Return on investment—assets confiscation

Source of criterion

PBS 2018–19 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 26

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

2.7

1.95

Positive return (i.e. >1)

Yes

Australia is committed to depriving those involved in organised crime of illicit wealth, and it is a signatory to several international treaties that combat money laundering and terrorism financing and enable confiscations of the proceeds of crime. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth), the Commissioner is a ‘proceeds of crime authority’ and the AFP plays a key role in targeting illicit wealth.

The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) plays a large part in investigating and identifying possible proceeds of crime. The CACT, hosted by the AFP, is a multi-agency taskforce that brings together investigators, forensic accountants, analysts and litigators in co-located teams around the country. Participating agencies include the ATO, ACIC and AUSTRAC. The CACT also draws on the expertise of the Australian Border Force and other domestic and international partners.

Money laundering and drug-related offences feature prominently in the criminality targeted by the CACT. Where assets can be identified as either ‘proceeds’ or an ‘instrument’ of crime, the CACT may take civil action to restrain those assets. Ultimately the assets are forfeited to the Commonwealth.

AFSA also plays a key role in the process by managing assets until liquidation and managing the Confiscated Assets Account (CAA) on behalf of the Commonwealth. Once assets have been liquidated, proceeds are credited to the CAA. With approval from the Minister for Home Affairs, funds in the CAA may be used for a suite of crime prevention and law enforcement programs and measures.

The ROI for assets confiscation compares the value of confiscated assets from proceeds of crime matters in 2019–20 with the costs of running the CACT (the investigation and criminal assets litigation teams within the AFP, including secondees provided by the ATO and ACIC).

AFSA provides the realised assets values. It should be noted that these assets may relate to investigations commenced in previous years or where the confiscation order was made in an earlier financial year and the assets have been realised in a subsequent financial year or over a number of years.

The ROI for assets confiscation is 1.95 against a target of 1. This is based on a total benefit of
$38.8 million of confiscated assets over costs of $20.0 million.

2.1 Prevention case study analysis—domestic (PAES Program 1.1) and international (PAES Program 1.2)

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Program 1.2, page 66

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 27

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

Met

Case studies below

Successfully targeted crime prevention

Yes

One of the strategies the AFP uses to prevent offending that causes harm is to ensure that the crime does not take place. To achieve the prevention performance criterion, the AFP:

  • works to reduce anticipated victimisation of a person, place or thing
  • works with potential offenders and vulnerable individuals to ensure they do not engage in crime
  • targets underlying social, procedural or system vulnerabilities that are likely to be exploited
  • strengthens institutions, the rule of law and police legitimacy to ensure order is maintained, enforcement occurs and the majority of citizens voluntarily adhere to the law.

Many of our prevention approaches are well known. For example, police are involved in school safety and industry/consumer education. The Constable Kenny Koala and Foreign Bribery Network case studies in this chapter illustrate these activities. Other approaches are less recognisable. Enforcement can be seen as preventive because it has a downstream impact of deterrence in that effective enforcement makes criminals less likely to offend. However, prevention can also be achieved through preventive legal structures—for example, the National Sex Offender Registry and offences in the counter-terrorism space where people commit crimes in planning an act—and by identification of system vulnerabilities by investigative taskforces. Enforcement, disruption and prevention are closely interrelated in policing.

Prevention is notoriously difficult to measure, so qualitative case studies are used to show processes involved. Into the second year of this performance criterion, the AFP continues to examine ways to show our impact and incorporate detection and preparatory offences. The case studies below show aspects of prevention across Outcomes 1 and 2 during 2019–20.

Case study: Raising awareness of community scams

Scams are increasingly affecting our community, and the impact of scams on the Australian economy can be devastating.

Scammers are opportunistic. They use many different types of scams—for example, we have seen romance scams, investment scams and banking scams. Scammers particularly target people aged over 551. They go to great lengths to ensure their content appears to be legitimate—they are able to style their material to pretend emails are from banks, the ATO, the government or even police.

They will exploit any situation to their advantage. Even during national emergencies such as the recent bushfires and COVID-19, scammers have been seeking opportunities. Over the past year scammers sought to access bank account details by sending emails pretending to sell COVID-19 products online or relay testing advice from the government. Scammers have even made phone calls to potential targets pretending to be from the World Health Organization.

To counter scams, the AFP and other agencies—for example, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, through its Scamwatch newsletter, and ACIC—distribute public education and information to ensure that messages about keeping safe from scams reach the right people in the community.

The AFP continues to use press releases as a staple form of communication about scams. However, since 2012, our social media platforms have become increasingly important in disseminating scam prevention messages.

A screen shot of a social media post about scam alert where messages have been sent impersonating the Government with advice on testing for COVID-19.

The AFP’s social media platforms offer an invaluable two-way engagement with the community, and our audiences have grown to over half a million. Younger people in particular respond well to the interactive and often humorous methods the AFP uses to communicate its messages.

Most people will only ever have limited contact with the AFP, engaging with it either as a passive viewer of news bulletins about its work or as a victim, witness or offender. Online engagement opens up a different and increasingly effective pathway.

Case study: Bribery Prevention Network online hub to prevent foreign bribery

Companies that attempt to bribe foreign officials so that they can be treated favourably in an international business transaction are committing a crime. The Australian Government has international obligations to address and report on foreign bribery, and the AFP is responsible for pursuing those matters. However, we are often faced with ingrained international business practices that have normalised bribes and other distortions in private and government contracts or purchases. For this reason, the AFP sees prevention as a key way to reduce this type of crime.

Education is key to combating foreign bribery, as it can lift standards among all types of businesses. For this reason, in 2019 a new Bribery Prevention Network (BPN) was established. The BPN uses education to improve the capacity and capability of Australian businesses to comply with foreign bribery legislation and to minimise their risk exposure. It is a public–private partnership between the AFP, government agencies, industry groups, civil society and a number of leading Australian corporations.

Bribery Prevention Network members include:

  • Australian Federal Police
  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Allens
  • BHP
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Global Compact Network Australia
  • Transparency International Australia
  • Westpac.

The BPN is currently developing an online hub where Australian businesses, especially small to medium enterprises, can access high-quality content, case studies and tools to help them prevent, detect and respond to the risks of bribery and corruption. Many larger organisations develop their own resources, but it is costly to maintain them and it is difficult to share them across the broader business community. Smaller firms tend to lack resources to develop advice, leaving a key sector vulnerable.

In May 2019 the BPN Steering Committee organised a government-hosted CEO roundtable involving major Australian firms. The event raised awareness among senior business leaders of the importance of avoiding foreign bribery and corruption and sought cultural change within industry sectors. The BPN has also presented to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Chile in August 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery in Paris in December 2019, the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit and a number of forums in Australia. It has attracted significant interest from the international community for its approach in making the private sector and governments accountable for the problem and identifying solutions through collaboration.

The AFP’s involvement in the BPN assists in strengthening the rule of law; upholding the protection of human rights; building confidence in public institutions; and safeguarding the most vulnerable. It supports recommendations by the OECD Working Group on Bribery, showing the links of AFP work to multinational policy efforts on fighting crime.

Case study: Constable Kenny Koala helps to spread awareness of child safety

Since 1975, Constable Kenny Koala has been a key part of ACT Policing’s strategy to educate children about dangerous or unsafe situations and how to seek help from police and support services.

An image of a male police member sitting on a chair with Kenny Koala.
Constable Kenny talks to young people about things like protective behaviours, how to deal with bullying, how to stay safe online, how to deal with strangers, how to make good decisions and how to look after others. Children find Constable Kenny very approachable, so he is able to build a trusted relationship between police and children in a friendly, non-threatening way. Between 1 July 2019 and 19 March 2020, Constable Kenny visited 19,618 students across 946 classrooms; and attended 19 community events, engaging with families, parents, children and other members of the community.

Constable Kenny has had to postpone his visits to community events and schools at this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he is still using social media to spread education and awareness among young people. For example, in March 2020 he released a video on ACT Policing’s Facebook page to educate children on how to protect themselves against the spread of COVID-19. The video reached more than 45,000 people. Constable Kenny is building a large social media presence—he has Twitter and YouTube pages and his Twitter account currently has 985 followers. Between 27 March and 29 May 2020, he tweeted 18 educational activities and safety tips on his Twitter account.

To complement safety messaging delivered by Constable Kenny, ACT Policing, as part of the ThinkUKnow education program, provides other age‑appropriate online safety presentations to improve childhood protective behaviours.

Constable Kenny reflects the commitment of ACT Policing and the ACT Government to ensure the safety of all vulnerable people in our community, including children. He helps ACT Policing to achieve its mission of ‘keeping the peace and preserving public safety in the ACT’ through early childhood education.

2.2 Disruption case study analysis—domestic (PAES Program 1.1) and international (PAES Program 1.2)

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Program 1.2, page 66

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 27

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

Met

See case studies below

Successfully undertook disruption

Yes

The AFP’s disruption strategy is an important part of its crime prevention activities. Disruption involves delaying, diverting or otherwise complicating the commission of crimes or the operations of a criminal entity. Many different operational tactics and strategies can be used to effect a disruption.

Disruption can be used as a standard response to reoccurring crimes—for example, where officers manage repeat drug importation attempts where drugs are concealed in imported equipment—or they may be more tailored responses to a specific investigation or criminal threat if the AFP believes that disruption is the best way to proceed in dealing with offending, especially if victims are at risk. Disruptions may need to be used numerous times during an investigation given the resilience of criminal groups. As disruptions often occur during investigations, they are often seen as linked to enforcement activities, but they may occur outside a case as a generic response to a crime—for example, cancelling visas for travelling sex offenders.

Disruptions can also be the most appropriate response when securing a successful prosecution in Australia may not be feasible or cost-effective. Also, for some crimes it is better to use disruption to interrupt harm and prevent it from continuing—for example, in human trafficking, counter-terrorism, drug imports and instances of anonymous but trackable offending.

Some of the AFP’s domestic and international disruption activities are discussed in the following case studies.

Case study: Joint Counter Terrorism Team disrupts domestic terrorist activities

The Joint Counter Terrorism Teams (JCTT), comprise the AFP, ASIO and state and territory police agencies, who work collaboratively to disrupt potential terrorism threats. In NSW, this includes the NSW Crime Commission. JCTTs work closely with other domestic law enforcement and intelligence agencies and with the AFP’s foreign law enforcement partners to identify and investigate terrorist activities in Australia including planning terrorism acts, and support to or financing of terrorism. The primary object is the safety of the community and an emphasis is on preventative operations. The JCTTs are part of a comprehensive national response to CT threats where state and terrorist police and emergency response agencies have operational responsibility for first response to a terrorist act.

In December 2019 the NSW JCTT became aware that a man had been creating and posting increasingly extremist material on social media. He had also downloaded a document on weapons and tactics, and the JCTT believed that the information in it could have been used to facilitate a terrorist act. After the JCTT’s investigation, the man was charged with acts done in preparation for or planning a terrorist act, membership of a terrorist organisation and advocating terrorism. The JCTT also believes he actively attempted to influence teenagers to adopt and act upon his extremist views.

Despite the challenges involved in investigating people who are operating in an online environment, the JCTT has remained committed to protecting the community from extremist ideologies, with community safety the prime consideration of all JCTT investigations.

Case study: International disruption—online child sexual exploitation

In cases of online child sexual exploitation, protection of children is the key goal. Disruption is an appropriate mechanism to use in these cases because it ensures the immediate safety of the children and limits the harm caused by their ordeal.

To help to disrupt child sexual exploitation in the Philippines, the AFP is involved with the Philippine Internet Crimes against Children Center (PICACC), which enhances the global response to online sexual exploitation of children. The PICACC operates as a cooperation between Philippine and international law enforcement bodies and the non-government sector. Between its inception in February 2019 to 30 June 2020, the PICACC has conducted 58 operations, arrested 53 suspects and rescued 194 child victims. AFP Manila Post holds positions in the PICACC Donor Board of Management and Operations Coordination Group, which enables it to influence the strategic direction of the PICACC and helps to develop its capabilities to address online sexual exploitation of children at the source.

In 2019–20 a referral generated by the Tasmanian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team was sent to the PICACC. The PICACC worked with the Philippine National Police, the Women and Children Protection Centre and the Mindanao Field Unit (MFU) to investigate the referral. As a result, one facilitator of online sexual exploitation of children was arrested and 13 victims were rescued. AFP Manila supported the MFU deployment with logistical and funding support. Evidence obtained from the Philippine resolution may enable additional charges to be laid in Australia.

The arrest and prosecution of these offenders led to their being held accountable and potentially punished for their crimes. By removing victims who were being used in the production of online abuse material, police also disrupted the business model and ongoing harm to these and other potential victims.

Case study: India and Australia work together to prevent drug importation

In 2019–20 the AFP was involved in multiple disruptions of a transnational organised crime syndicate that was exporting cocaine and methamphetamine from India and other countries to Australia. The group was later assessed as being part of a larger transnational organised crime syndicate with connections to Nigeria, Canada, the United States and Australia.

On 3 April 2019, 200 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized in Melbourne, having arrived via air cargo from Canada. A person using an Indian contact number was attempting to collect the consignment. The AFP post in New Delhi shared information relating to the drug seizure with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in India, who commenced an investigation in conjunction with the AFP, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The NCB identified a further two consignments that had been sent to Australia and had already been delivered, and a third consignment that was intercepted in the United States. The NCB later arrested and charged an Indian person and their accomplice in connection to these importations.

On 12 June 2019, a shipping container arrived into Sydney from India. It contained 110 blocks of cocaine concealed within a plasma cutting machine. The estimated gross weight of the cocaine was 55 kilograms. Those responsible for the shipment were identified, additional quantities of cocaine that were assessed as being destined for Australia were seized in India, and seven persons were arrested for their involvement in the matter.

Investigation by the AFP identified links between the syndicate and other drug shipments, including the seizure of 200 kilograms of methamphetamine at Brisbane Airport. The syndicate is estimated to have undertaken 60 cargo importations between October 2018 and October 2019. An AFP investigator and an ACIC analyst travelled to India in December 2019 and in collaboration with the NCB, DEA and RCMP further built and enhanced intelligence holdings relating to the group, with a view to effecting further disruptions and arrests.

Each disruption has damaged the effectiveness of the syndicate and has reduced the impact and harm to the Australian community. Information sharing and ongoing collaboration between the AFP and our overseas law enforcement and intelligence partners was the key to the ultimate success of the operations and furthers the AFP’s goal to combat transnational serious and organised crime. This case reflected improvements in sharing operational information and intelligence between the AFP and partner agencies on a police‑to-police basis.

Case study: AFP disruption activities prevent methamphetamine manufacturing

In 2019–20, joint cooperation between the AFP and other law enforcement agencies led to the disruption of a group seeking to produce methamphetamine in Australia. Enforcement for immigration offences served as an effective tool to disrupt a potential drug enterprise, illustrating the interplay between disruption and enforcement.

In May 2018, Chinese authorities informed the AFP’s Guangzhou office that they suspected several people were travelling to Australia to establish a clandestine methamphetamine lab in Sydney. The AFP in Australia began to investigate. The AFP identified a concurrent Australian Border Force (ABF) investigation into the importation of precursors, which was assessed as linked.

Potential domestic production of methamphetamine is primarily a state police matter. However, once people begin to produce methamphetamine, significant quantities of border-controlled precursors are required in the cooking process. This leads to the AFP’s involvement.

The then Joint Organised Crime Group (JOCG) in New South Wales, which consisted of members of the AFP, the NSW Police Force, the ABF, ACIC, the New South Wales Crime Commission (NSWCC) and the Department of Home Affairs, was advised of and progressed the matter. Cooperation with and assistance from external agencies and the states was required throughout the investigation.

China imposes the death penalty for drug manufacture, so the JOCG had to consider whether the death penalty would apply in the case. It found that, as the Chinese traveller had not offended in China, death penalty considerations were not present.

JOCG partners tracked the two suspects during their stay in Australia. The JOCG’s aim was to identify and prevent the production of methamphetamine if and when the clandestine laboratory was established; and prosecute those responsible. Its secondary aim was to disrupt organised criminal activity. During the evidence collection process, the suspects did not undertake any criminal drug-related activity.

However, one of the suspects was known to the NSW Police Force as an unlawful non-citizen from Malaysia. That person was detained under immigration laws and deported. The other suspect voluntarily left Australia without authorities’ intervention, using a one-way ticket.

With both suspects out of the country, the potential harm was removed. In the end, this investigation resulted in disruption and enforcement outcomes. Immigration law was upheld while the departures disrupted potential plans to establish a lab.

Case study: AFP and Australian Border Force disrupt human trafficking plan

When dealing with human trafficking, disruptions are often much more timely and effective than pursuing legal action.

In February 2020 the AFP Human Trafficking team was informed that an Australian woman was at risk of being forced into marriage with a man in Afghanistan. The team received the referral from the non-government agency Shakti Migrant and Refugee Women’s Support Group.

The team assessed the woman’s risk as credible. It alerted the relevant offshore AFP post, which in turn liaised with the ABF office responsible for issuing a visa to the Afghan man who was seeking to travel to Australia in order to marry the woman. The ABF considered the circumstances of the case and denied the man’s visa application. Through the straightforward act of cancelling a visa, potential ongoing sexual abuse and harm to the woman was averted.

2.3 Disruption count

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 27

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

246

294

206

Yes

The AFP recorded 2942 disruptions in 2019–20. Fifty-eight per cent of disruptions were international and 42 per cent were national. The majority focused on drugs (34 per cent), cybercrime (29 per cent) and child sexual exploitation (12 per cent). Small numbers of disruptions were related to other crime types, including human trafficking, financial crime and terrorism.

Results show that the primary benefit of disruption is to create efficiency by building relationships with partners and reducing crime-related harm in Australia. The use of disruption is sensitive to the context and particulars of an investigation and will reflect the mix of active investigations.

2.4 Avoidable incidents

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 27

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

1

0

<2 incidents

Yes

A key objective of AFP Protection is to keep designated individuals like the Governor‑General, the Prime Minister, other ministers and designated diplomats and foreign officials safe from acts of terrorism, violent protest and issue-motivated violence. Protection is provided to them within Australia and overseas. The AFP has a key role in protection, owning and leading this work.

The success of this effort is gauged by counting the number of avoidable incidents3 that occurred in the reporting period.

There were no avoidable incidents in 2019–20. The AFP’s intelligence and risk assessments and planning of events and personnel movement ensured this good result.

2.5 Response case study analysis

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 28

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

Met

Case studies below

Successfully delivered response

Yes

The AFP’s emergency response role can involve it in domestic time-critical activities such as initial drug seizures at the border; phone calls from vessels in distress; alarms at high office holder and foreign diplomat premises; incidents at designated airports; and coordinating and participating in counter-terrorism first response. The AFP can also assist other agencies in national emergencies such as bushfires and COVID-19, as was the case in 2019–20.

The AFP’s emergency role can also be international, supporting other Australian and foreign agencies with offshore liaison to return Australians home. The AFP may work alongside local police and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to assist with offshore civil unrest. It can coordinate Australian policing support to international emergencies created by regional natural disasters.

The AFP’s response role reflects our links to national policing, the Australian Government and Australian interests. It differs from the state and territory police services emergency roles, which have a range of publicly well-defined roles and avenues of contact.

In managing emergencies, governments invoke governing frameworks and committees that confer specific and time-limited powers on agencies. The types of structures used alter with the type of emergency and the location. In emergencies, the AFP often takes on a crucial support role, along with other police services. It may receive evacuation powers or become responsible for security and law and order around the emergency operation.

In 2019–20, in response to several unprecedented national emergencies, the AFP collaborated with diverse partners; sustained its staff, maintaining their safety; and negotiated complex jurisdictional and legal arrangements in order to contribute to keeping the community safe. We also worked alongside partners like the ADF on Australian soil for the first time. The following case studies illustrate this important stream of work.

Case study: AFP assistance during extreme summer bushfire season

The summer bushfire season of 2019–2020 was one of Australia’s worst on record. The fires were accompanied by heatwaves and resulted in hazardous smoke pollution. ACT Policing was on the front line in protecting the Canberra community during this time.

From December 2019, ACT Policing coordinated with the ACT Rural Fire Service and Fire & Rescue ACT to deliver fire training and bushfire kits to officers before the bushfire season started. Training was needed to update members’ knowledge and prepare them to respond to a potential bushfire situation, especially as many members had not experienced the devastating 2003 Canberra bushfires.

By 22 January 2020, two fires burned in the suburb of Beard, close to Canberra Airport. Warnings were issued and the airport closed for a day. The fire resulted in a number of buildings and vehicles being damaged. ACT Policing managed traffic and road closures and prepared the community for evacuations.

On 27 January 2020, shortly after these fires were extinguished, a major fire developed in Namadgi National Park. By 28 January the fire was only 9 kilometres from Tharwa in the south of the ACT. Emergency warnings were issued for Canberra’s southern suburbs and rural villages. With the fires on each side of the New South Wales – ACT border, authorities worked around territorial divides to provide a united response. Coordination and communication were crucial for an effective response.

On 30 January 2020, ACT Policing established a unified (multi-agency) command post at the Lanyon Vikings Club in Tuggeranong, south Canberra. Teams of ACT Policing, Australian Defence Force (ADF) soldiers and State Emergency Service personnel doorknocked more than 8,000 houses and apartment complexes in Weston Creek and Tuggeranong, and carried out patrols, road and traffic management operations and public engagement duties to get citizens prepared.

As conditions intensified, on 31 January 2020 the ACT Government announced a State of Emergency. This declaration activated a range of emergency provisions involving ACT Policing and the Chief Police Officer and delegated authorities.

During the emergency, ACT Policing members worked out of the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) emergency command centre at Fairbairn, which was coordinating the emergency, with the Chief Police Officer working alongside the ESA Commissioner. AFP representatives also attended whole-of-government crisis coordination meetings involving the ADF, the State Emergency Service, the Bureau of Meteorology, Emergency Management Australia, the Department of Human Services, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Agriculture as they planned response and anticipated recovery operations.

AFP members from outside ACT Policing were drawn on to assist with the response. The AFP also provided additional technical resources—for example, AFP Forensics were deployed to a live fire scene to assist with an investigation into suspicious activity, producing large maps of the affected region to support the Police Forward Commander’s critical decision-making and utilising a mobile phone signal reception booster that enhanced secure communications for emergency service members.

The fire was declared extinguished on 27 February. Our ability to cooperate with other services and work under emergency management provisions assisted ACT Policing to respond to an erratically unfolding emergency, keeping the Canberra community safe during a long and trying summer.

Case study: Operation Burdei—AFP assists key partner agencies to coordinate Australian evacuation response from Wuhan, China

In early 2020 the AFP played a part in organising a safe return home for many Australians trapped in Wuhan, China, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many who were in Wuhan at the time could not leave because international airlines grounded flights and regional borders were closed. Operation Burdei was set up to coordinate the evacuation. It commenced on 2 February 2020 and concluded on 4 March 2020, with 65 members deployed in teams consisting of AFP members and Christmas Island community police officers.

The Australian Government organised chartered flights to collect 713 Australian citizens in Wuhan. The AFP assisted the lead agencies, the ABF and the Department of Health, by providing public order and security for those being transported and quarantined.

Before evacuees could return to the mainland, they had to first undertake a mandatory 14-day period of isolation at designated quarantine facilities located at Christmas Island. Later other evacuees were taken to Howard Springs in the Northern Territory. To do this, on 7 February the Northern Territory Chief Health Officer used the Notifiable Diseases Act 1981 (NT) to allow the use of Howard Springs as a quarantine site that restricted movement of those accommodated there. On 3 and 4 February 2020 the first two contingents of repatriated Australians boarded charter flights from Wuhan and made the journey to Christmas Island. The AFP had two officers on each charter. Similar evacuations occurred to Howard Springs.

The AFP established and provided a continuous 24/7 security presence at both quarantine facilities and liaised with stakeholders to deal with media and community concerns about the evacuations, especially at Howard Springs. In addition, the AFP assisted with evacuating 170 Australians from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was moored in Tokyo, and relocating them to the Howard Springs quarantine facility. In doing this work, officers navigated different Acts and emergency provisions in order to work alongside state police and other partners.

The planning and coordination required for an operation of this magnitude relied on ongoing collaboration and active engagement with all stakeholders and partner agencies, as well as active and careful management of staff. The COVID-19 emergency demonstrated the courage and organisation of the AFP and its partners to ensure the safety and care of evacuees, officers and the general community.

Case study: AFP assistance with COVID-19 response—Operation Protect

A picture of uniform police officers next to a small plane in the outback.
On 19 March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government declared a health emergency. The AFP launched Operation Protect to help manage safety measures that were put in place to contain the spread of the virus.

The AFP assisted with management of airport and cruise ship arrivals and quarantine of Australians returning from overseas. It also deployed members to the Northern Territory Police Force to help protect remote and vulnerable Indigenous communities. It maintained a physical presence at Centrelink offices (at the request of Services Australia) and at shopping centres and supermarkets. It increased patrols to ensure that citizens adhered to social distancing measures and were complying with lawful public health orders and government instructions. It also supported enforcement of state border checks when requested.

AFP Eastern Command members escorted 32,936 people through Sydney Airport until the NSW Police Force took over on 7 July 2020. Returning passengers underwent health checks upon arrival in Sydney before being taken to hotels across Sydney. AFP teams of two to four members escorted each transfer. Even though AFP members were operating at a high tempo and engaging with a significant number of people and partner agencies, no member on this operation became infected with COVID‑19. Eastern Command’s Operation Protect unified response will continue into the foreseeable future as more Australians return home.

A picture of a number of uniformed police members sitting at a row of tables, with air travellers standing on the other side of the table. Everyone is wearing masks.
AFP Northern Command has also had significant involvement in the COVID-19 response. Strong operational partnerships have developed between AFP Brisbane Airport members and their Queensland Police Service (QPS) colleagues. QPS members have been working in airports to assist with serving health notices and quarantine directives. Also, AFP Northern Command and QPS worked alongside members from Queensland and Commonwealth agencies in the Brisbane District Disaster Management Group, which operated from the District Disaster Coordination Centre (DDCC). The AFP made a large section of the Emergency Operations Centre at Brisbane Airport Operations Centre (BAOC) available to the DDCC Transport and Accommodation Planning Cell. The DDCC immediately moved all of their operational staff into the BAOC, where they worked alongside the AFP’s Aviation Major Incident Room.

AFP Darwin office supported the Northern Territory Government’s state border and biosecurity checkpoint at Darwin International Airport while maintaining their normal business activities. Since the introduction of restrictions in March, Darwin office AFP members have been heavily involved in processing all travellers arriving through the international and domestic airport gateways. Since May 2020 the Darwin office has assisted with more than 340 flights, processed more than 5,500 passengers and crew with Northern Territory border arrival quarantining forms, and provided 58 escorts to quarantine hotels.

AFP Southern Command was also involved in the COVID-19 response, facilitating the arrival, screening and quarantine of 21,582 international arrivals.

AFP Western Central Command was involved in the COVID-19 response relating to flight arrivals, border vehicle checkpoints and biosecurity checkpoints, facilitating the arrival, screening and quarantine of 6,814 international arrivals.

With COVID-19 still posing challenges, the pandemic-related work of all AFP teams seems likely to continue into at least the near future.

2.6 Response to aviation incidents within priority time frames

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 28

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

Priority 1—93%

Priority 2—93%

Priority 3—100%

Priority 4—100%

Priority 1—91%

Priority 2—91%

Priority 3—99%

Priority 4—100%

Priority 1—90%

Priority 2—90%

Priority 3—95%

Priority 4—95%

Yes

This performance criterion covers the AFP response at designated Australian airports: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast (Coolangatta), Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The AFP has set response time targets that depend on the priority level4 of the incident. Targets range from priority 1, for life-threatening incidents, to priority 4, where there is no immediate danger.

Other jurisdictions that use response times as a performance criterion (New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT) aim to have between 80 and 90 per cent of their priority 1 call-outs met within time targets of between 10 and 15 minutes5. The AFP’s target of 90 per cent is high compared with state targets, while the 10-minute time frame is also one of the leanest. Despite this, the AFP exceeded targets in all priority levels, with results slightly lower (2 per cent) than last year.

The AFP attended 703 priority 1 incidents in 2018–19. We were on target to have similar numbers of incidents in 2019–20 until COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. As can be seen in Table 3.4, Figure 3.6 and Figure 3.7, from April 2020 the numbers of incidents fell dramatically as travel restrictions were imposed by state governments and airports were closed for holiday and business travel.

Despite the impact of COVID-19 and increased focus on escorting passengers to quarantine, the performance criterion was met. The AFP’s remit is to keep people safe by offering incident response. It successfully did this despite the changing demand for the service.

Table 3.4 All aviation incidents, comparison between April 2019 and April 2020

Priority

Average number of incidents per month

July 2019 – March 2020

Incidents April 2020

1

44

23

2

761

189

3

147

65

4

1,463

819

Figure 3.6 Airport incidents by priority, 2019–20 A series of four graphs showing the trend in airport incidents ranging from Priority 1 to 4. The trend has been an decrease over the period of July 2019 to June 2020.

Figure 3.7 Priority 1 incidents across airports, 2019–20 A horizontal bar graph showing Priority 1 incidents for 2019-20 across nine airports. Darwin and Adelaide had the lowest number, while Melbourne and Sydney had the highest number.

2.7 Enforcement case study analysis

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 28

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

Met

Case studies below

Successfully targeted crime prevention

Yes

The AFP conducts enforcement activities to compel compliance with laws, rules or regulations. It investigates the commission of federal criminal offences (and other relevant offences) and assists other regulatory/enforcement agencies to enforce their laws/regulations.

For the AFP, core enforcement activities include:

  • undertaking investigations related to offences against the Commonwealth or national security
  • providing community policing in Australia and internationally as well as carrying out peacekeeping duties that operationalise criminal and community safety laws, leading to civil order and security
  • actioning Commonwealth policing provisions contained in various laws and initiatives—for example, child sex offender registration, INTERPOL, international alerts, assets confiscation or mutual assistance
  • responding to criminal breaches of court processes related to topics that the AFP is responsible for—for example, family law and AFP investigations/prosecutions
  • assisting other agencies to do their investigations or enforcement. AFP officers may assist with warrants, interviews, surveillance and intelligence. The AFP may have powers that other investigative agencies lack, so we can provide specialist policing services to help the agency investigate. The AFP may also help another law enforcement agency to locate criminals and return them to face charges/court in their home territory or help a regulatory agency to enforce a decision by offering a police presence.

Enforcement is the most commonly recognised element of any police service. The ways it occurs, its rationale and its goals vary, as do the social outcomes; these are shaped by the workings of the criminal justice system. The AFP does not necessarily control the final social outcome. For example, AFP members contribute to prosecution by investigating matters, but they do not control the next and final steps of the process—prosecution, court and sentencing, where key social impacts and outcomes are generated.

The case studies below illustrate the interconnected and multiple aspects of, and outcomes from, our enforcement work.

Case study: Forty-one kilograms of cocaine seized as part of Operation Birdlip

In August 2015, 10 kilograms of cocaine was imported into Australia from California via air cargo. In May 2016, a further 15 kilograms of cocaine with similarities to the August 2015 consignment was intercepted upon arrival into Australia. Operation Birdlip was established to investigate the importations.

On 2 September 2016, a 29-year-old Queensland resident and Rio Tinto executive was arrested by the AFP at Sydney Airport following extensive investigations. It was alleged the man had tracked both cocaine shipments intercepted by the AFP, both in Australia and from overseas. At the time of his arrest, the executive was in possession of a Blackberry Curve mobile device encrypted with Phantom Secure software. He denied ownership of the device or the password to it. However, he later provided the password to the AFP.

The following day, the AFP, using the Blackberry device, entered into communications with a person who was later identified. These communications enabled the AFP to intercept a further 16 kilograms of cocaine and arrest the new person and an accomplice following a successful controlled operation. The three men pleaded guilty to their respective offences, receiving custodial sentences of between four and nine years.

During the AFP’s investigation, links to suspects under investigation by the NSWCC were identified. One of those suspects was a prominent US sporting identity. A subsequent investigation launched by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) resulted in the arrest of 22 persons. The NSWCC also arrested an offender allegedly involved in 17 importations of cocaine into Australia. The collaborative efforts of the AFP, NSWCC and FBI were key to dismantling this transnational criminal network.

Operation Birdlip was more complex than a typical parcel post investigation because the criminal syndicate’s structure and discipline were particularly good. The AFP believes that the syndicate facilitated multiple cocaine importations before it came to the attention of law enforcement. Additionally, the use of encrypted communications made investigations more difficult and time consuming. The acquisition of a Controlled Operation Authority, which enabled the AFP to covertly engage an operational target, was key to the successful outcome.

Case study: IM-RAT malware distribution disrupted under Operation Cepheus

The AFP’s Operation Cepheus is investigating the development and sale of the Imminent Monitor (IM) Remote Access Tool (RAT). IM-RAT can be used for illegal purposes and can give the purchaser complete access to a victim’s computer. Once the RAT is installed on a computer, a remote user can access and view documents, photographs and other files, record all the keystrokes entered and even activate the webcam and microphone on the victim’s computer. All of this can be done without the victim’s knowledge. The AFP investigation presented opportunities for both enforcement and disruption outcomes.

Following information from the FBI and Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks, a technology firm, in December 2017, the AFP team began to investigate IM-RAT. Not all uses of IM-RAT are illegal and owning a licence is not a criminal offence. However, the AFP found that this particular IM-RAT product contained all of the features that show software to be malware.

The AFP investigation uncovered a network of individuals who supported the distribution and use of the IM-RAT software across 124 countries. Sales records showed there may be more than 14,500 purchasers. IM-RAT was advertised via a website dedicated to hacking and the use of criminal malware. A licence could cost as little as US$25 and little technical knowledge was required to deploy it. The number of victims is unknown but estimates suggest that globally it could be in the tens of thousands.

AFP Cybercrime Operations shut down the software supporting purchases from this website, thereby preventing new crimes and victims. Between 25 and 29 November 2019 the AFP coordinated a global week of action involving domestic law enforcement, EUROPOL and EUROJUST, and law enforcement agencies in 16 countries. Eighty-five search warrants were issued, there were 13 arrests and 434 items were seized. As a result of the search warrants, AFP investigators identified evidence of stolen personal details and are working to identify victims.

A picture of a male in office attire, wearing disposable gloves handling a piece of equipment, with a laptop nearby.
AFP officer conducing an in-field examination

In the UK the operation led to a conviction of a Liverpool man who admitted to installing the RAT on the devices of three unsuspecting women. He used the tool to hack the victims’ computers and webcams to spy on and film them in compromising positions, including undressing and having sex6.

At the conclusion of the week of action, the AFP organised a takedown notice to be posted on the website selling Imminent Monitor. This significantly disrupted users. A media campaign aimed at victims of the software was released to provide guidance to members of the public on what they should do if they identified the software on their system. These preventive measures assisted with educating the public as to the effects of malware variants of this nature.

A screenshot with a message 'this site has been taken down' with a range of agency logos.
Take-down notice posted on the website

Domestically, person profiles on 18 domestic targets were prepared and disseminated to state and territory police along with lists of all Australian purchasers of the tool. The NSW Police Force advised that they have issued formal warnings to 29 purchasers of the tool.

This operation sought prosecution through enforcement, but it also shows the interrelated mix of strategies and outcomes the AFP uses in major cases, involving prevention, victim support and disruption.

Case study: Operation Circinus intercepts major drug importations through Melbourne ports

In December 2019 three people were charged over Australia’s largest ever onshore methamphetamine seizure, worth more than $1 billion.

During a sea cargo inspection at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility, ABF officers detected the huge haul in vacuum-sealed packages concealed within stereo speakers that originated in Bangkok. Operation Circinus, involving both the AFP and the ABF, was established to investigate the matter.

As a result of investigations, the AFP charged two men (aged 37 and 38) and a woman (aged 37) for being involved in importation of more than 1.6 tonnes of illicit drugs—equal to almost 16 million drug deals. In total, 1.596 tonnes of methamphetamine and 37 kilograms of heroin (a total of 1,633 kilograms) were detected, with an estimated DHI value of $365 million and $49 million respectively.

Operation Circinus was successful in identifying and removing serious vulnerabilities at the Melbourne waterfront and effectively dismantling a drug importing syndicate.

2.8 Prosecution acceptance rate

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.1, page 65

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 28

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

95%

94%

95%

No

This measure examines the support the AFP provides to the workings of the criminal justice system. In its second year, details for this measure are still being refined, given the complexity of how AFP work supports the legal process and emerging data issues.

As a leading investigative policing agency, the AFP investigates a range of matters that will have very different forms of engagement and pathways through the court and prosecutorial process. Some offences are summary; others are indictment or indictment treated summarily. The ways in which these different matters progress through court, the type of court that will hear the matter and the common milestones that will be part of the case (such as first mention, committal, or contested hearings if there is a non-guilty plea) will differ according to the matter. The timing of when and whether an offender pleads guilty will also affect the prosecutorial process. Given this, there is uniqueness and complexity in the prosecutorial process.

Compounding this, data issues have emerged. In the previous year, the AFP used a report from the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions (CDPP). However, that report covered only a small fraction of AFP-related prosecutorial work. It covered matters where a brief of evidence is prepared and submitted to the CDPP for assessment, and the AFP is seeking to secure representation before laying charges.

As members of a key investigative policing agency, AFP officers can and often do lay charges autonomously, with arrests and other methods forming the bulk of their prosecutorial workload. For example, in 2019–20, AFP National Investigations arrested 285 people, charging them with 891 counts of diverse offences—ranging from child protection to drug importation and money laundering crimes, to name a few—relating to 224 cases. Similarly, at airports, AFP members arrested 225 people, charging them with 316 counts of various offences, relating to 221 cases. The majority of these arrests led to court hearings, where a magistrate hears the charges and the CDPP represents the AFP. In these matters the magistrate tends to decide whether the charges are suitable and there is a case to answer.

Given such issues, for 2019–20 this performance measure examined the percentage of AFP finalised cases that resulted in either a conviction or a discharge. As cases are counted, each case may have more than one offender who could have been charged with multiple offences and counts of the same offence. This data enabled a greater proportion of AFP work to be included in the measure, thereby strengthening it. The quality of AFP briefs used in prosecutions is indirectly measured using the assumption that adequate quality ensured the court process occurred, while matters the CDPP elected not to argue were reflected in matters being discharged.

Of the finalised national (excluding airport) cases in 2019–20 that reached court, 94 per cent resulted in a sentence and 6 per cent were discharged. This is a slight drop from last year and just misses the performance measure target. As the measure uses finalised cases, these matters may relate to offences committed outside the current year.

In addition, during 2019–20, 743 offenders whose cases related to AFP-led investigations (not necessarily finalised cases7) went before court for sentencing. The AFP can pursue charges and offences as part of other agencies’ court actions. Given this, this figure underestimates the sentencing related to AFP investigations. For AFP-led non-appeal matters, the last quarter showed that the majority of offenders entered guilty pleas (91.7 per cent) and that 50 per cent of the 10 matters involving non-guilty pleas were won by the prosecution. Of those matters that were lost, four out of five predominantly involved juries. Only 6.6 per cent of the sample ended up having a nil sentencing result (for example, withdrawn or discharged). In this regard, the AFP continues to support the prosecutorial process and holding offenders to account, with commensurate community benefits of offender rehabilitation and punishment, and general deterrence.

Program 1.2 International Police Assistance performance measures and results

Disruption and prevention case studies are reported with domestic case studies under Program 1.1. The remaining performance criteria for Program 1.2 are reported here.

1.2 Return on investment—international operations

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.2, page 66

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 26

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

22

46

1

Yes

The AFP’s international operations ROI assesses one aspect of the work of international AFP posts—international drug seizures where there was AFP involvement—against the cost of the AFP doing this work. Estimates of costs include all operating and staffing costs of AFP international posts in 2019–20. The value of the international drug seizures, or benefit, is measured by applying the DHI8.

This year the AFP’s international operations returned $46 for every dollar spent—substantially above the target ROI of 1. This figure was calculated based on 23 tonnes of drugs and precursors, with a corresponding DHI of approximately $6 billion, which were seized overseas by local police services with AFP assistance during 2019–20, and AFP post costs of $145 million.

As was the case last year, the countries associated with largest overall seizures by weight were Myanmar, China and the Netherlands. This reflects the strong and effective partnerships constructed through the AFP’s international network.

The ROI has increased to 46 from last year’s figure of 22. This reflects operational strategy and the crimes being targeted. Many posts in the Asia-Pacific continue to focus on prevention and, increasingly, child sexual exploitation matters. This will affect the share of work involving drugs and drug seizures. As only drug seizures are used in this ROI, these changes in the mix of cases and operational focus will alter the ratio of AFP costs to seizures. The result for this performance criterion still exceeds the target.

1.3 Mission/external territories performance evaluation

Source of criterion

PBS 2019–20 (PAES)

Program 1.2, page 66

Corporate Plan 2019–20

Page 26

Result

2018–19

2019–20

Target

Target achieved

See 2018–19 Annual Report

Evaluation results below

Evaluations completed and recommendations addressed

Yes

In 2019–20, internal mid-term reviews were conducted of the Solomon Islands Police Development Program (SIPDP) and the Timor-Leste Police Development Program (TLPDP). In addition, a health check was conducted of the Pacific Transnational Crime Network (PTCN).

Due to COVID-19, during the last quarter of 2019–20 the AFP trialled remote assessment methods. These may be used for evaluations in 2020–21.

Solomon Islands Police Development Program mid-term review

The purpose of the SIPDP review was to:

  • assess the adaptation of the program in the post Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands context
  • consider progress against program goals so far
  • provide advice to improve program outcomes
  • prepare the program for an independent evaluation in 2021.

The mid-term review found that the first phase of SIPDP had been a success. In the first two years of the program the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force had managed the largely peaceful national general election in 2017. It had strengthened its specialist capabilities, including forensics, and addressed corruption, which resulted in improved community confidence and trust in the force. The SIPDP will now focus on ensuring the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force can continue to sustainably strengthen its capacity. The findings of the mid-term review are already informing decision-making for the future of SIPDP.

Timor-Leste Police Development Program mid-term review

The purpose of the TLPDP review was to:

  • assess the program against the program’s design
  • make recommendations on possible changes or improvements to program delivery.

The mid-term review showed that the TLPDP is one of the Australian Government’s successful flagship programs in Timor-Leste. The establishment of the Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPU) in Dili and across the districts was a high point. The VPU provides a safe and private space for victims—including children affected by sexual and gender-based violence—to report crime.

The TLPDP has also created a strategic shift among Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) leadership towards favouring a community policing model, while a sustainable training model has proven successful in providing the PNTL with capacity development opportunities. The review’s findings are informing decision-making about the future of the TLPDP, as well as a recent aid quality check process in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Pacific Transnational Crime Network review

The PTCN remains a major contributor to regional law enforcement efforts to combat transnational crime in the Pacific region. The analytical capacity and potential of the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) is currently unmatched by any comparable regional mechanism. The PTCN health check conducted in 2019 identified the value of secondments to the PTCCC to enhance the capability of the PTCN and foster regional training capacity. Longer secondments to the PTCCC are enabling greater opportunities to develop transnational crime and intelligence expertise, while also serving to highlight how the network operates and regional differences.

The effect of this development has been strengthened by the relatively high status of the Transnational Crime Units (TCUs) located in each participating nation. The skills and experience developed at the PTCCC have been retained and have strengthened the capability of many TCUs in the region. Some secondees said the PTCCC provided a ‘vehicle for teaching’ and that they valued the opportunity to share their experiences with newer PTCN members. In this sense, the PTCCC provides a way to draw on national intelligence and transnational crime capabilities for the benefit of the region as a whole.

Footnotes

  1. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, ‘Scams Cost Australians Half a Billion Dollars’, Scamwatch, 29 April 2019. Available at: www.scamwatch.gov.au/news/scams-cost-australians-half-a-billion-dollars,
  2. Using the definition of disruption in performance criterion 2.2, disruptions are recorded in case notes in the AFP database and counted for this measure.
  3. Avoidable incidents are incidents that could have been avoided through physical action, intervention or reasonable intelligence and result in death, injury, loss of dignity or embarrassment to individuals and interests identified by the Australian Government or the AFP as being at risk.
  4. Priority level definitions: 1—Life-threatening or time-critical situation. 2—Situation requiring immediate AFP attendance but not life threatening. 3—No immediate danger to safety or property but where AFP response or attention is required. This is determined in consultation with the complainant but, in any event, no later than 120 minutes from the initial contact by the complainant. 4—No immediate danger to safety or property but where police response or attention is required. This is determined in consultation with the complainant but, in any event, no later than 24 hours from the initial contact by the complainant.
  5. Productivity Commission, Report on government services 2019, Australian Government, Canberra, Ch 6. Available at: www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2019/justice/police-services
  6. Tara Seals, ‘Liverpool Voyeur Used IM-RAT to Video Women at Home’, Threatpost, 8 January 2020. Available at: https://threatpost.com/liverpool-voyeur-im-rat-video-women/151638
  7. With potentially many offenders in one case, there can be time delays between court sentencing dates for each of the offenders in an investigation, as well as delays in closing the investigation after a sentence is handed down for one offender, due to administrative processes or the need to keep the investigation active for other suspects.
  8. Australian Federal Police, ‘Return on Investment Methodology’ (web page). Available at: www.afp.gov.au/about-us/publications-and-reports/return-investment-methodology