CANBERRA, Australia - Australian Federal Police have set up a task force to target fugitives living overseas.
Forty-three offshore fugitives are currently being targeted by the Australian Federal Police strike team.
The Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team FAST are after offenders wanted for murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, money laundering, and serious fraud.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) says FAST is working with domestic and international law enforcement partners to help arrest and extradite offenders to Australia. A significant focus is also helping states and territories identify offenders living undetected in Australia.
The team of specialist investigators and intelligence analysts will also support requests from other countries and agencies, like INTERPOL, to identify suspected fugitives who may have fled to Australia.
It is the first time FAST has been publicly revealed by the AFP. The strike team began in February this year and already has had some success. Those matters are currently caught up in the legal process so no details have been disclosed.
"A number of serious criminals have fled Australia and believe they are no longer within reach,'' Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said Tuesday.
"However, they are mistaken. Few agencies have offshore capabilities like that of the AFP. Our international reach is extraordinary."
"AFP personnel are posted in 33 countries. Our partnerships, respect, and trust with domestic and international agencies mean we work collaboratively to disrupt serious criminal syndicates," Kershaw said.
"My message to offenders who have fled Australia, or are offshore and targeting Australians, is clear: You are within our reach and the AFP will be relentless in bringing you to justice."
The AFP says FAST aims to make it easier for police across multiple jurisdictions to jointly investigate criminals who have fled the law, share operational intelligence, and strengthen cooperation to conduct complex and cross-border investigations.
"We will be working closely with our international, Commonwealth and state and territory partners leveraging the specialist capabilities, intelligence and operations of the AFP and our partners - to hunt down these serious criminals who are hiding here in Australia and those suspected Australian criminals who have fled offshore,'' Commissioner Kershaw said.