Australian government gets Police connected

The Australian government has presented a Microsoft Surface Hub to the Samoa Police Services to enable the police to convene virtual conferencing.

Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty, said in her speech that COVID-19 is having a profound impact on lives in Samoa and region to disrupt economies, jobs, education and health systems.

Consequently, she said everyone has to find new ways of working and staying connected.

Ms Moriarty explained that travel restrictions have prevented delegates from Pacific Island nations’ security agencies physically convening for next week's 2nd Joint Heads of Pacific Security Meeting, following the inaugural event in Brisbane last year.

The High Commissioner further explained that fortunately technology has been able to bridge some of the gaps that is being experienced.

The Microsoft Surface Hub is the first of four to be rolled out as part of the Australian Defence Force’s ‘Virtual Conferencing Systems to the Pacific Partners’ Project.

A further three systems for the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Customs are expected to arrive in 2021.

“The virtual conference systems will enable the heads of Samoa’s security agencies to engage virtually in vital discussions with officials from defence, police, immigration and border control agencies from across the Pacific,” Ms. Moriarty added.

She further stated that there has never been a more important time for Australia to stand side-by-side with its neighbours as they address the COVID-19 pandemic together.

“Being there for one another in challenging and uncertain times goes to the heart of our Pacific Step-up,” she said.

She said through the delivery of the virtual conferencing systems, they hope to provide further opportunities to facilitate senior engagement throughout the region, as well as training and responses to regional situations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The High Commissioner further stated that they want to enable connectivity and collaboration during a time when getting physically together is not possible.

“I look forward to seeing the technology in action, and am excited by the prospect for broader use of the systems in future," she added.

I hope they will be used as a key enabler for engagement and multilateral responses to evolving situations, such as the collective challenges of COVID-19."

According to Ms. Moriarty, the cost of the Microsoft Surface Hub is AUD$18,000 or $33,448 tala.

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti, thanked the Australian government for its ongoing support to the Samoa Police Services and the Samoa Government.

“We continue to acknowledge the support of the Australian Government especially to this organisation with so many things, including this one this morning,” Papalii said.

She further stated that they will continue to support Australia and the Blue Pacific in ensuring that continue to discuss matters that are important in securing the Pacific.

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