Law enforcement in Samoa

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Samoa has no standing army, as defense is the responsibility of New Zealand. However, Samoa does have a unitary national police force, the Samoa Police Service.

Because crime in Samoa is relatively low, Samoa does not require much of a force but a small one. There are 500 police officers in Samoa. Samoan police duties vary in maintaining the correctional facilities, maintaining order in traffic, assisting in search and rescue, identify and address crimes of most concern to the community, upgrade and improve intelligence for crime investigation and national security and other police duties. There are three corrections facilities in Samoa: Tafaigata Prison, Vaiaata Prison and a juvenile facility.

Operations

The Samoa Police Service operates the Pacific-class patrol boat Nafanua. It was provided to Samoa by the Australian Government as part of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program. Samoa took delivery in March 1988. It underwent a $T5.5 million refit in Australia in December 2004. Between 1988 and 2004, the Nafanua sailed a total of 118,000 nautical miles (219,000 km; 136,000 mi), performed over 12,000 hours of fisheries patrol and has been involved in the search and rescue of over 400 people.

International Operations Samoa has provided police officers to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands since July 2003. Samoan Police officer Laulala Siitia is contingent commander of the Samoan police serving as part of RAMSI's Participating Police Force (PPF). Samoa's police service also served in East Timor as part of a United Nations peacekeeping effort to maintain peace and security in the region in 2000.

Crime in Samoa Within Samoa, reports of organized gang members growing and selling cannabis have become common. In the early hours of Monday 7 May 2012, Samoan police officers received gunshot wounds during a police raid in Faleatiu village near Apia. Sources said that there was a shoot-out between police and people involved living on this particular land when the drug raid took place. Faleatiu village has been the target of police investigations as one of the main sources of cannabis.

The Samoan Police band is a well-maintained brass band performing at special events such as the independence day anniversary. Every week-day morning, the Samoan Police Band march to the Samoan Government buildings and raise the Samoan flag.

In recent years, reports of organized crime occurring in parts of Samoa were noted. The growing of cannabis and selling it. The import of weapons into Samoa from neighbouring countries including the United States have raised alarming concern over the possibility of increased gun crime in Samoa and the possible import of these weapons to New Zealand, which was described in a New Zealands Journalist report as a 'warzone' if this were to be.

Overseas Support

Australia will build a new police headquarters in the Samoan capital Apia, as part of a major initiative to strengthen the Samoa Police Service. The Samoa Australia Police Partnership operates within the framework of the Samoa Australia Partnership for Development and is founded upon and institutional relationship between the Samoa Police service and the Australia Federal Police (AFP) within the broader context of external support to Samoa’s law and justice sector. The Samoa Australia Police Partnership is a component of the Pacific Police Development Program, which is a Government of Australia initiative supporting a broad range of bilateral and multi country police capacity development initiatives throughout the Pacific region.

The Samoa Australia Police Partnership commenced in January 2009, prior to which AusAID provided support for police capacity development under the Samoa Police Project (SPP) (2004–2008). While it is widely recognized that noticeable improvements in SPS performance were achieved during the life of the SPP, it is also acknowledge that ongoing assistance to the SPS is required. With a new Commissioner having been appointed in September 2009, and a new senior executive, it is an opportune time for the AFP to forge a new program of assistance to the SPS.

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