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World leading border protection service recognised

World leading border protection service recognised

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today recognised the work of the Integrated Targeting and Operations Centre (ITOC) – a world leading, modern information hub providing enhanced border protection for New Zealand.

The ITOC brings together the New Zealand Customs Service, Ministry for Primary Industries, Immigration New Zealand, Maritime New Zealand, New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service in one location. It connects New Zealand to the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and uses the power of technology and collaboration to identify threats to New Zealand.

“Increasing public expectation and advancement in technology drive government departments to collaborate and innovate. The ITOC is a good example of agencies rising to the occasion and operating more as a system rather than as fragmented individual agencies,” Mr Rennie said.

“This is an innovative solution to a complex challenge that makes a real difference for New Zealanders, which is the essence of Better Public Services,” he said.

ITOC uses sophisticated technology as well as advanced intelligence gathering tools and techniques to identify potential threats and carry out risk assessments for specific people, goods, aircraft or vessels entering or leaving New Zealand.

As a result of this cross-agency initiative, successes have already been seen. This year Customs has stopped kilograms of methamphetamine, cocaine and other harmful drugs worth millions of dollars from entering New Zealand. High-risk travellers are identified via Automated Targeting System software, - resulting in a recent find of 2.5 kilograms of cocaine in a passenger’s suitcases, as an example of the successful work the ITOC does on a daily basis.

Working closely with the ITOC partner agencies, Immigration New Zealand has made use of shared resources and skills to assist with risk targeting of incoming passengers. This ensures any immigration risk to New Zealand is identified and managed even before people enter the country.

Immigration New Zealand staff recently worked with New Zealand Police to help identify a foreign national re-entering the country who had previously been involved in several domestic violence cases. Based on this collaborative work, the passenger was referred to the immigration team on arrival, and was refused entry.

Processing of firearms imports is another improvement whereby Police based at the ITOC, on behalf of Customs, have sped up assessments and enquiries about importers. New Zealand Police also provide an important intelligence link to ensure that when identified offending goes beyond the border and into New Zealand, any relevant support required by Police can be triggered.

“This group of highly-skilled and capable people share a common goal and commitment,“ said Bill Perry, Customs Deputy Comptroller for Operations.

“Working together in one location helps them to understand each other’s roles, share information, and streamline border activities - removing duplication and making better use of resources. Future efficiencies and getting more agencies on board are a continued focus,” Mr Perry said.

ENDS.

For more details, see Case Study: Protecting the border from behind the scenes

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