Shocking number of threat letters held by AFP database

·2-min read

Australia's top federal cop has revealed the national database contains almost 2000 threat letters.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw told a Senate estimates committee hearing on Thursday, that it held more than 1800 threat letters.

Last year, almost three-quarters of threatening letters received were sent to politicians, public servants, foreign embassies, consulates or high commissions.

The database had provided "key evidentiary value" that led to police laying charges, Mr Kershaw said.

The AFP also had an officer deployed to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to help prosecute and investigate crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Ukraine.

The force was also assisting Europol to investigate war crimes committed by terrorist organisation ISIS against the Yazidi people in the Middle East.

"We are represented at the United Nations, shaping Australia's engagement in police peacekeeping and transnational crime issues, advancing our national interests in the world's largest multilateral organisation," Mr Kershaw said.

The commissioner likened the AFP to a Swiss army knife which was multifunctional, inventive, and durable.

"There are not many police forces around the world that have the mission of the Australian Federal Police," he said.

The commissioner welcomed increased funding from the federal government for the AFP's operations in the Pacific region, which included working together with neighbouring police forces.

Asked about the force's efforts to attract and retain people, Mr Kershaw said the younger generation required more praise from their supervisors.

"The next generation only need (praise) three times a year, and my generation only need it once a year," he said.

"The world's changing, I guess ... you know a happy face - that can actually mean the opposite in Gen Z land."

The hearing was told the latest survey found 13 per cent of AFP staff had experienced bullying or harassment.

This had fallen from 21 per cent in 2018, after the AFP took action to improve its culture.