There have frequently been comments in the United Kingdom about the cost of policing official visits especially the controversial ones like the recent visit of President Donald Trump. However, nothing could probably have prepared Queensland Police for what happened after a recent visit of the Sultan of Brunei to Cairns, as their gift register reveals.
The Sultan had been one of many world leaders attending the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in November. Although the event was held in Papua New Guinea, several of those attending including the Sultan and US Vice President Mike Pence stayed in Cairns and were given an escort of close-protection officers from Queensland Police.
Following the trip, a member of the Sultan’s entourage gave US$11,000 dollars to a representative of the Australian government intending that it be given to those members of the protection team who had worked with the Sultan. Though it is usual that cash gifts or gifts that can easily be converted into cash are politely declined, it was decided in this case that such a move would be insulting to the Sultan.
Therefore, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart made the decision to split the money in between two charities which support the work and members of Queensland Police. A sum of AUD 14.336.50 was donated to Queensland Police Legacy Scheme and Community Supporting Police charities. The donation was one of a number included in the Gifts Register; government employees cannot accept gifts of greater than AUD 150 unless it can be shown to be of benefit to the department, the State of Queensland or the public in general.
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is a group of around twenty leaders from countries around the Pacific Rim. The organisation has been in existence since 1989 and has its headquarters in Singapore the intention being to give the nations a more significant voice with the movement of goods and raw materials around the global economy. The meeting in Papua New Guinea was the annual meeting of the leaders of the countries.