Policing the Pacific


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2006, 4 x 26 Minutes

The Australian Federal Police find adventure and challenges in the region as they join the multinational police force known as the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and embark on a tour of duty to East Timor. Australian Federal Agents have policed the Solomon Islands since 2003 at the invitation of its Prime Minister as part of RAMSI. The Solomon Islands has been torn apart by ethnic violence during a four year period of civil strife. During this time rival paramilitary gangs have raped, kidnapped, tortured and murdered, yet the perpetrators often remain at large.

Policing the Pacific follows several Australian Federal Agents deployed to the Solomon Islands, where they patrol the streets of the capital Honiara, the remote and dangerous Weather Coast and outer islands that rarely, if ever, see law enforcement. In the final episode we are reacquainted with Australian Federal Agent Dave Elson who makes a tour of duty to Dili in East Timor after the recent unrest.

Dave's New Beat Australian Federal Agent Dave Elson is nearing the end of his 18-month tour of duty to maintain the fragile peace as a community constable in the Solomon’s remote outer islands. He patrols the Weather Coast, an area that looks like paradise, but until 2003, this area was a battleground for warring tribes in a four-year cycle of revenge killings, rapes, murders and village raids.

Dead Man's Tale Australian Federal Agent Paul Chambers is in the Solomon Islands to investigate killings that occurred during the civil conflict which ended in 2003 and to hopefully bring the perpetrators to justice. He travels to a remote island to exhume the body of pastor Cederic Hairiu so that cause of death can be determined and his family and community can finally put him to rest.

Disillusionment of Patrick Veitch, The Melbourne Federal Agent Patrick Veitch teaches the Solomon Islands police what he has learned on Melbourne’s streets, but with the national elections there are surprises in store for Patrick. As riots emerge on the streets of Honiara and the Australian Federal Police arrest the politician, recently made Prime Minister, the need for law and order in the Solomon Islands becomes even more important.

Dili's New Street Cops Australian Federal Agents Dave Elson and Danielle Woodward spend six hours a day, seven days per week patrolling the streets of Dili, the capital of the fledging independent nation of East Timor. Danielle wants to extend dialogue as a means of managing the violence. She impresses on the locals that they need to call the police rather than take action into their own hands when trouble arises. She hopes to get warring gangs to engage in dialogue rather than the tit for tat violence that is commonplace. Dave finds working in East Timor more highly pressured compared to his experience in the Solomon Islands. In the Solomons he made one arrest in 18 months. In East Timor he averages five per day as the gang violence since independence and the departure of the Indonesian police force, continues.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Essential Viewing. Produced in association with SBS Independent.
© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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Directors: Alan Erson, Andrew Merrifield, Stephen Oliver

Year: 2006

Total Running Time: 104 Minutes (4 x 26 Minutes)

Classification: M. Consumer advice: Moderate themes.

Curriculum Links: Pacific Studies; Sociology:Colonisation, Decolonisation and Development; Studies of Colonialism and Post-Colonialism; SOSE; Legal Studies; Law and Justice; Policing Studies.


SKU 200501900
Brand Film Australia

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