The Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG) has met in Melbourne to share intelligence, strategies and operational outcomes to help keep our nations safe from criminality and safeguard the rule of law.
FELEG agencies, which include the AFP, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New Zealand Police (NZP) the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI), and the UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing, are working together to combat serious crime and protect our collective way of life.
FELEG chairman, AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, hosted the Annual Principals’ Meeting from May 8-11.
The FELEG agencies met to reaffirm the group’s commitment to combatting transnational serious organised crime and protect the collective national security environment.
Areas of focus include targeting crime enablers, including those who launder money on behalf of illicit drug syndicates; individuals who work in key supply chain/logistics industries and disrupting encrypted communications, whereby offenders hide their criminality on certain platforms.
Commissioner Kershaw said FELEG was a key alliance in helping keep Australia and our region safe, especially from transnational serious organised crime, which is a national security threat.
“We are facing an uncertain world and constant technological advancements,’’ Commissioner Kershaw said.
“So to have a better chance at being in control of our own destiny, we must be unapologetically proactive and innovative in how we identify and disrupt threats.”
“Five Eyes is doing more than just watching. We are working closely together to disrupt criminality earlier and prevent criminals from taking a foothold in our countries.”
NCA Director General Graeme Biggar said the NCA was a proud member of FELEG.
“The evolving nature of serious and organised crime, and the real world impact it has, means that now, more than ever, we need to work together to ensure we stay ahead of the criminals who seek to cause harm to our communities,’’ Director General Biggar said.
“Serious organised crime has no boundaries, so the law enforcement response to disrupt it must be a truly collaborative one.
“We must continue to share information, intelligence and best practice, enabling us to keep pace with the criminals and the technology they use to stay one step ahead of them both domestically and internationally.
“Together we can ensure there are no safe spaces for criminals to hide and thrive - protecting communities from harm all over the world.”
NZP Commissioner Andrew Coster said that for New Zealand Police, the FELEG partnership means that we can contribute to the global response to issues which affect us all.
“Together we can bring more resources to the table, and most importantly help keep people safe.
”The partnership provides a strong basis for tackling the problems that are faced by the global law enforcement community.
“It means that we have a mechanism to facilitate the effective investigation and prosecution of crimes across international borders”.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Mike Duheme said that whether it be in the field of communications, transportation, finance or trade, criminal actors had seized upon technological advances to further their criminal operations, often well beyond the confines of national jurisdiction.
“This is why a forum such as FELEG is so important. We need to work together, side-by-side, and share information in real time,’’ Commissioner Duheme said.
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission acting chief executive officer Matt Ripponsaid FELEG coming together was critical in addressing serious and organised crime.
“Serious and organised crime is inherently transnational in nature – FELEG countries share the same threats and we will continue to collaborate to combat the impact of transnational serious and organised crime on our communities.”
ICE’s Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Director PJ Lechleitner said Homeland Security Investigations’ unique authority allowed for a multi-faceted approach to combatting international criminal activities, including counter proliferation, intellectual property theft, money laundering, trade-based crimes, and immigration violations.
“HSI will continue to conduct global investigations – anywhere transnational criminal organizations operate – alongside international mission partners to safeguard communities we serve,’’ Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Director PJ Lechleitnern said.
“Being a member of FELEG means HSI has a network of trusted law enforcement counterparts to work collaboratively with to address the most critical, current law enforcement issues.
“This partnership with FELEG plays a pivotal role in enhancing communication and increasing cooperation on law enforcement matters worldwide, and HSI is proud to be part of that mission.”
A communique from the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group Annual Principals’ Meeting 2023 is available on the AFP website here.
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