A new report released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says trust needs to be restored to forge ties between Australian and Indonesian law enforcement agencies once more.
Tensions mounted between the two countries over last year’s spy scandal, causing Indonesia to freeze police cooperation with Australia over people smuggling and cybercrime.
The ASPI interviewed both Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Indonesian National Police (POLRI) officers for its report, ‘A return on investment:The future of police cooperation between Australia and Indonesia’.
It cites the Bali bombing as one of many incidents of strong co-operation between Australian and Indonesian authorities.
“At the time of the bombings, a number of AFP officers were already in Bali and within 24 hours. A team from the AFP and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation flew in to join them—including experts in disaster victim identification and bomb-blast investigation,” the report states.
As Australia and Indonesia’s foreign ministers prepare to resume talks this week, the report says both countries should be focused on restoring trust.
“The primary objective should be to re-establish a trusting partnership across all crime areas of mutual concern,” it states.
It suggests the day-to-day police partnership will likely resume, “but it’s smart to recognise that the relationship and both forces’ needs will change; and the magnitude of change will be related to the duration and depth of the current ‘freeze’ and the outcome of the negotiated code.”
“Having a clear re-engagement strategy, which should be based on demonstrating respect and building trust, is essential.”