Rebuilding Becora

Neil Banks & the Becora Squad. Within a few days of arriving in Timor-Leste the NZ Police contingent was patrolling the streets of Becora with their Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) colleagues.

The team is responsible for policing the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) area of operation which comprises the closely settled Becora district of Dili and surrounding rural area east towards the township of Hera. Operations are based at the NZDF forward operating base in the abandoned Becora Police Station.

Canterbury’s Neil Banks has been assigned the role of Area Commander. Neil says the situation in Becora has been fairly calm compared to when the multinational task force first arrived in late May. “There are still a lot of traumatised people in the community, but with the high police presence now on the streets they are beginning to report crime."

“The work done by the NZDF civil-military affairs [CMA] people and the AFP before we got here has really paved the way for the policing operation in Becora. The way the CMA has engaged with the community has been outstanding. They have built up good relationships with the community, identified areas of concern and worked to resolve them.

“Our main priority is getting out and being seen to restore the confidence of the community. It’s good ‘old-fashioned’ community policing work and I am really heartened by the work that all of the Becora police staff have done so far.

“The people are really positive about us being here and I am proud to be flying the New Zealand flag.”

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