Subject: ABC: Establishing E Timor security will take years: Keelty

ABC News Online

Monday, December 18, 2006. 3:22pm (AEDT)

Establishing E Timor security will take years: Keelty

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner says it will be at least three years before international police can hand over control to their East Timorese counterparts.

Mick Keelty will fly to Dili with the Federal Justice Minister, Chris Ellison, this afternoon to visit the 50 AFP officers working under UN command.

They will be briefed on yesterday's gang violence which saw one man shot dead and two others injured.

Mr Keelty says he has been to East Timor at least once a year since 1999 and it will take a sustained effort to establish law and order in the country.

"It will be years. I mean the setbacks from April this year where a number of police were killed has set back the program I would say three to five years," Commissioner Kelty said.

"We need to be in this for the long haul to develop what is the youngest and newest police force in the world, and you won't do that overnight."

Commissioner Keelty says gang violence will remain a problem in Dili for as long as young people in East Timor cannot find work.

He says violent crime is a recurring problem in any country where young people do not have economic opportunities.

"It's beyond policing in a sense," he said.

"It really needs to be driven at the leadership level to try and create peace and security on the ground.

"But also opportunities for employment, opportunities for economic growth and that not [just] relates to East Timor, that's the same problem right around the region."

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