Constructing security: examining the Australian Federal Police's international mandate

2017-02-16T04:48:38Z (GMT) by Spratling, Alita Dorothy
This thesis considers the Australian Federal Police's (AFP) relatively recent adoption of an international mandate, where crime is increasingly defined as transnational in nature and requiring extraterritorial law enforcement. The AFP have undergone a transformation in the previous decade that has resulted in the doubling of personnel, increased resources and police powers, and a current budget of over one billion dollars. The AFP has an extensive international liaison network with officers posted in 30 countries as well as a contingent of readily deployable officers for peacekeeping missions and emergency situations. This thesis examines how the AFP's international mandate is informed by a security discourse. It argues that this rapid expansion has occurred through the construction of transnational crime and security. Focusing on the key roles of intelligence gathering, cooperation and collaboration, and peacekeeping and capacity building, a critical discourse approach is utilised to analyse AFP Annual Reports from 1997-2006 - a 'watershed' period in the organisation's history with regards to rapid growth and development - to demonstrate how official discourse contributes to the construction of national security. The Annual Reports utilise a threat narrative and states of perpetual crisis, justifying an international policing role and the need for international cooperation.