Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Australian Federal Police Cross Oceans

When the agency opened its Los Angeles office April 8, representatives of the FBI, Secret Service and LAPD were present.

The new headquarters of the Australian Federal Police were christened April 7 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra, as she thanked many of its members for responding during recent flooding in Queensland. The new headquarters give this department a modern setting, fitting for role as Australia's leading law enforcement agency.

The next day, AFP opened an office in Los Angeles, Calif. And it opened an office in New Delhi, India, last year. In all, AFP has 31 international offices.

The LKA office will work with agencies on the western coasts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and an AFP office in Bogota, Colombia. AFP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Zuccato opened the new facility, describing it as an important step in combating international crime. "The Australia and U.S. alliance is fundamental to Australia's national security interests, and the AFP enjoys a close working relationship with U.S. law enforcement agencies," Zuccato said. "In an increasingly globalised world, transnational crime is a growing threat. Australia and the United States share many common transnational threats, including drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and cybercrime. This new office will enable both AFP and our U.S. counterparts to build their capacity to fight crime in their respective jurisdictions."

U.S. agencies represented during the opening ceremony included the FBI, Secret Service, the Los Angeles Police Department, and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

When she opened the Canberra office, Gillard also thanked the department's members for assisting victims of the recent Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake.

The new headquarters includes a $13.2 million Operations Coordination Centre and is the coordination center for the Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce, which was launched last month to intensify the fight against organized crime by stopping the flow of criminal funds.

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