UN Police Adviser stresses importance of supporting local forces as he leaves post

UN Police Adviser stresses importance of supporting local forces as he leaves post

Mark Kroeker in Liberia (file photo)
With the demand for United Nations police officers and all peacekeepers at record highs, the quality of personnel recruited must be maintained as their role in building national police capacity is more important than ever, the world body’s top police officer said today as he ended his two-year appointment.

Police Adviser Mark Kroeker, who has been working with the UN for around 13 years, acknowledged that challenges remain with the world body’s policing, not least of which is attracting more female officers. But he said the whole division, working as part of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), has also had important successes.

“The Police Division here working together, the police components in the field – the major achievement collectively that we have made is that we have ratcheted up our quality: quality of leadership, quality of technical capability, quality of police division, operation procedures… that’s what I think is our biggest achievement,” he told the UN News Centre.

Some recent initiatives involving the Police Division include putting in place the first all-female specialized police unit in Liberia, the establishment of the International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC), and preparations for setting up a Standing Police Capacity (SPC) of up to 100 officers who will be able to respond rapidly to UN operations wherever crises erupt.

There are now almost 9,500 UN Police officers worldwide, a 60 per cent increase in the last three years.

Earlier on Thursday at a weekly DPKO staff meeting, the UN peacekeeping chief paid tribute to Mr. Kroeker, and in particular his role in pushing forward the concept of the SPC, to which all Member States have given their support.

“Coming to the Department as the Police Adviser in February 2005 you have made a great difference to this Department. When I see where we are today and where we were two years ago: the sense of pride, the esprit de corps that you have built for the police. And as I recall all the very concrete achievements that you have made… the most impressive one maybe being your work on the Standing Police Capacity,” said Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno.

A selection process is under way to find Mr. Kroeker’s successor but Mohammed Alhassan, the Police Commissioner in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), will take over as interim Police Adviser in the next few weeks.