Roles, Duties and Functions of the Indonesian National Police Attaché or Liaison Officer
Eko Sudarto, Police Senior Superintendent at the International Relations Division, NCB Interpol Indonesia-Jakarta
From 2011 to 2014, he was National Police Attaché/Police Liaison Officer of the Republic of Indonesia for the Kingdom of Thailand
65 years ago, in 1950, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand established diplomatic relations. Ever since, both ASEAN founding countries have expanded and strengthened their cooperation in order to jointly face new challenges. This applies – among many other fields – also to cooperation in security matters. As the development of science and technology does not only bring about positive impacts, but also new challenges like, for example, transnational crime, it is indeed increasingly important to develop those relationships in the field of security and law enforcement, in particular with regard to police cooperation between the two countries.
The Office of the Indonesian Police Attaché in Thailand
On 20 December 1997, the ASEAN Ministers of the Interior/Home Affairs signed the ASEAN Declaration on Transnational Crimes. The Declaration established the basic framework for regional cooperation on fighting transnational crime in order to coordinate activities of relevant bodies such as the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) and the annual meeting of the ASEAN Chiefs of National Police (ASEANAPOL). The Declaration also encouraged the ASEAN member countries “to consider assigning Police Attaches and/or Police Liaison Officers in each other’s capitals in order to facilitate cooperation for tackling transnational crimes”.
Accordingly, the office of the Indonesian Liaison Officer/Police Attaché in Thailand was established in June 2003. Since then, the role of the liaison officer or police attaché has generally been to establish and maintain good contacts between the Thai and the Indonesian police organizations to communicate and coordinate their activities by serving as a point of contact for senior officials. The Indonesian National Police Attaché or Liaison Officer is fully responsible to the Chief of the Indonesian National Police/Head of International Relations Division in Jakarta. Regarding his regular activities in the accreditation country, he is under the direct coordination of the respective Indonesian Ambassador. The Indonesian National Police Attaché coordinates his activities with the local police, in Thailand with the Royal Thai Police (Foreign Affairs Division). He builds a reliable relationship with his Thai counterparts as well as with his partners of the foreign police agencies and other law enforcement agencies who are members of the Foreign Anti-Narcotics and Crime Community in Thailand (FANC).
Regarding the Thai-Indonesian cooperation, both sides have implemented a broad cooperation agenda, including the exchange of personnel to conduct education and training both at the Jakarta Center Law Enforcement Community (JCLEC, http://www.jclec.com/) in Semarang, Indonesia, and at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA, http://www. ileabangkok.com/) in Bangkok, Thailand. The programs are carried out as an effort to improve the knowledge and skills of police personnel between the partner countries, especially in terms of combating terrorism and transnational crimes in the ASEAN region.
The Indonesian Police Attaché/Liaison Officer for Thailand facilitates the communication between the two governments with particular focus on the Indonesian National Police and the Royal Thai Police, thereby having the right to introduce new cooperation projects. Regarding on-going projects, the liaison officer is expected to have an up-dated knowledge, particularly concerning the project leadership and the various stages of progress. The Indonesian Police Attaché/Liaison Officer is also responsible for the optimum level of coherence between the two countries with regard to related programs such as the ASOD (ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters), ASEANAPOL, AMMTC (ASEAN
Ministrial Meeting on Transnational Crime), SOMTC (Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime) and the Bali Process (Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime). He supports strategic partnerships by providing advice, facilitating effective knowledge management and delivering technical assistance to project planning, coordinating, monitoring and reporting. Moreover, liaison officers of various Western and Asian countries in Thailand established the FANC as a general forum for meetings among the various liaison officers in Thailand which gained impressive institutional momentum over the years.
The cooperation between the police services of Indonesia and Thailand proves to be an effective tool in the fight against transnational crimes. Key elements like joint capacity building, the exchange of information and enhanced cooperation in investigations and law enforcement help reduce and prevent crimes. Reciprocally to the deployment of the Indonesian Police Attaché/Liaison Officer in Thailand, it would therefore be desireable if the Thai police side equally deploys a liaison officer to Indonesia, as it has been already done, for instance, by Malaysia and Singapore among our ASEAN neighbours, to further develop the excellent cooperation between the Thai and Indonesian police forces.