New Haitian police recruits receive training from UN officers

New Haitian police recruits receive training from UN officers

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More than 600 newly inducted Haitian national police recruits will form a unit devoted to tackling the capital’s most troubled neighbourhoods after receiving training from United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers stationed in the Caribbean country.

The 627 recruits, who include 86 women, received nine months of training from both UNPOL officers and other Haitian national police staff before receiving their diplomas at a graduation ceremony yesterday, the UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH) reported.

Almost all of the recruits will form a new motorized brigade tasked with responding rapidly – using motorcycles and other vehicles – to any situations in Port-au-Prince’s most difficult districts, such as Cité Soleil and Martissant, which have been plagued by armed gangs.

Already the Haitian Government has received 200 motorcycles and 40 vehicles from the United States for the new unit to use, and it expects to receive more soon.

The recruits’ training focused on such issues as how to maintain order in troubled areas, work effectively as community police officers and use heavy weapons such as M4 rifles. Instruction was also provided on dealing with the media and protecting human rights, as well as upholding civil and penal rights.

In his most recent report on the activities of MINUSTAH, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the mission is trying to support the national police academy to train and build up the capacity of the police force (HNP). Some 30 UNPOL instructors work at the academy and, after this intake, there are now nearly 9,000 police agents in the force.

The proportion of women in the HNP is also increasing. Women currently comprise about 6 per cent of the total force, but in this intake they represent nearly 14 per cent.

One of the aims of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Police Division, which now comes under the new Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions following Mr. Ban’s wider reform of peacekeeping operations, is to help struggling countries undertake security sector reform.