UN highlights growing role of international policing as global meeting opens in Australia
Highlighting the unprecedented global demand for United Nations peacekeepers in general and police officers in particular, the new UN Police (UNPOL) chief today stressed the importance of Member States and international policing organizations co-operating ever more closely with the world body to face the challenges of Darfur and other missions worldwide.
Police Adviser Andrew Hughes, the first Australian UNPOL chief, made his remarks at the start of a two-day meeting of the International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC) in Canberra, the Australian capital. The Council is an ad hoc advisory group of policing and law enforcement experts brought together by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ (DPKO) Police Division to help improve global policing.
“The demand for UN Police officers is growing worldwide. This is especially true with the mission authorized for Darfur, which will require the largest single UN Police contingent ever with more than 6,400 police officers out of a total of over 30,000 personnel. Developing the national police capacity there will be a massive task and the UN needs full co-operation from all Member States for the mission to be successful,” said Mr. Hughes at the opening press conference.
“This IPAC meeting brings together the world’s top policing experts and we’re looking to tap into this wealth of global expertise over the next two days to assist in further developing international policing strategy. But this is not just an academic exercise because we want to hammer out what works in practice in the field and how we move on in terms of international cooperation to build on past successes.”
The meeting is being run in co-operation with the Australian Federal Police and along with Mr. Hughes, it will also be chaired by his predecessor as UNPOL chief Mark Kroeker. Key IPAC participants will also include high-level academics and police chiefs from Australia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Interpol.
“IPAC comes at a critical time because of the urgent need in particular for UN Police officers in Darfur and the necessity to ensure that these officers have sufficient pre-deployment training to deal with the very difficult conditions they’ll face. We need Member States and all police services behind us for this,” said Mr. Kroeker.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said the challenges faced in dealing with increasingly complex conflicts in the 21st century made stronger international policing co-operation essential.
“Australia has always supported UN peacekeeping missions worldwide and policing is an essential and growing part of these operations. We welcome all IPAC participants to Canberra and believe that the contribution of the senior police, law enforcement and human security experts at the meeting will provide valuable insight and direction to the discussions,” Commissioner Keelty said.