AFP and Pacific Island Chiefs of Police join forces on cyber safety
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): February 15, 2012 - The Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP), along with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and National Rugby League (NRL) will launch the first cyber safety 'trainer the trainer' course as part of 'Cyber Safety Pasifika' for Pacific Island law enforcement on the Gold Coast on February 1.
Police Officers Xavier Maras and Corporal George Skilling both of the FSM National Police attended the program and developed new skills to make the community aware of the risks and how people can stay safe when using the internet.
Members of the community can soon expect to see the officers out and about doing presentations in relation to Cyber Safety.
'Cyber Safety Pasifika' aims to equip police in the various Pacific Island Countries with the knowledge and resources to educate their communities, including young people, teachers and parents, in all aspects of cyber safety.
The program draws on Australia's 'ThinkUKnow' program and New Zealand's 'NetSafe' program, which help young people to safely navigate the internet. It has been recognised by the PICP that as cyber use in the Pacific increases, there is a growing importance for cyber safety education for communities in the Pacific.
The FSM officers joined their Pacific colleagues from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga in the training. These five nations will pilot the new program, which may eventually roll out to include the entire Pacific region.
Research indicates that Internet usage varies vastly across different Pacific Island countries, from an estimated 2 percent in Kiribati to 84 percent in Niue. With this in mind, the course will be tailored to meet the very different needs of each country involved, bridging the gap between cyber use, awareness and education.
AFP Manager Cyber Crime Operations Commander Grant Edwards said while the growth of Internet use across Pacific Island communities presented a number of opportunities, Internet users needed to be informed of how they can still enjoy the benefits and minimise risks online.
"This course is an integral part of building the capacity of Pacific Island law enforcement to deliver cyber safety messages to their communities," Commander Edwards said.
"The AFP is dedicated to preventing Internet users from becoming victims of crime no matter where they are located."
The AFP also works collaboratively with a number of organisations, including the NRL, to provide the community with valuable information and advice about cyber safety and security.
The NRL, represented by NRL Education and Welfare Manager Nigel Vagana and the Gold Coast Titans, officially opened the course.
"Through our Education and Welfare programs, the NRL has worked with the AFP across all the NRL clubs and we have seen how valuable these programs have been with our players and staff," Vagana said.
"The players wanted to share their knowledge to help educate their communities. This new Pacific program is exactly what the players have been looking for and there was no hesitation in working again with a familiar partner in the AFP.
"With some of our high profile Pacific players already involved in the pilot, this new Cyber Safety program will continue to support the work done already and help promote positive and safe messages, not only throughout the Pacific, but the wider community."
Sergeant Xavier Maras said that the dangers were very real and present.
"I am looking forward to taking part in this project. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and watch our children being exploited over the Internet. The Internet itself is fantastic in providing education opportunities for young people. But unfortunately with opportunity there is risk. The risk of crime such as child exploitation, fraud, transnational crime
"We will be starting out project very soon and will be seeking community support in getting our messages out to the people"
For further information, please call the FSM National Police at 320-2628 or the AFP National Media Team at (02) 6231 6333.
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