Strengthening UN Police Mandates

By Lloyd, Jane | UN Chronicle, September-November 2005 | Go to article overview

Strengthening UN Police Mandates


Lloyd, Jane, UN Chronicle


At the annual session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno, in his opening remarks on 31 January 2005 said that the establishment of a standing civilian police capacity and a military strategic reserve force were "two investments" that could help make United Nations peacekeeping operations more efficient and effective. "Imagine if we were able to deploy within 72 hours 20 highly skilled police specialists, geographically and gender-balanced, who had trained and worked together before, to plan and kick start UN police mandates? They could probably make more of an impact than 10 times their numbers of generalists, trickling in, piecemeal, over the course of several months," he said.

This proposal is set to become a reality after Member States approved a clause in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document, allowing for "a standing police capacity to provide coherent, effective and responsive start-up capability for the policing component of the United Nations peacekeeping missions". Mark Kroeker, Police Advisor for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), said that his department was "very proud" of the response that the proposal generated, adding that it was "a classic case of problem-solving the UN way", involving contributions from DPKO, the Civilian Police Division and Member States, and incorporating recommendations made by past investigations into UN peace and security activities.

Mr. Kroeker acknowledged that the past deployment period for traditional peacekeeping operations had been disappointing and the existence of a standing police unit would effectively address this issue, as its staff would be "ready to go, rather than be waiting for the nominations and the process, which takes many months". He believes that a UN standing police unit will "help to put behind us those problems that have plagued us in some of the missions", which have to do with sexual exploitation and abuse. An investigation into this problem was conducted in July 2004 by Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations. A subsequent report stated that the United Nations "should encourage troop-contributing countries to send established units to peacekeeping operations, as they are usually managed and disciplined better than units assembled specifically for the peacekeeping operation".

Mr. Kroeker also said that a standing police unit would allow for more control over peacekeeping missions, adding that "it is a way of recruiting top quality people, of providing a solid leadership for them and also of establishing the operating procedures in a mission, so that you can get a hold of discipline and order in a good way, putting your rules and procedures into place early". …

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