25 Aug 2006

Australia boosts standby police force

5:47 pm on 25 August 2006

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard has announced that it will further expand its Asia-Pacific security presence by putting an extra 400 police on standby for deployment to international trouble spots.

The announcement came a day after Canberra, citing growing regional instability and the danger of failed states, said it would boost troop numbers by 2,600.

Mr Howard says the Australian Federal Police would increase its International Deployment Group by about 400 officers, or 50 percent, to 1,200 at a cost of 350 million US dollars over five years.

He says the extra officers would enable the AFP to establish a 150-member "operational response group" able to deploy quickly in response to emerging law-and-order issues and undertake stabilisation operations..

The IDG, established in 2004, has about 470 officers serving in Solomon Islands, East Timor, Nauru, Vanuatu, Sudan, Cyprus and Jordan.