An integral element of United Nations Peace Operations, United Nations Police contribute to the full peace continuum. The breakdown of law and order often triggers United Nations deployments and, conversely, the (re)establishment of the rule of law contributes to long-term stability and allows United Nations peace operations to eventually withdraw.
UN police officers support effective, efficient, representative, responsive and accountable police services that serve and protect the population. United Nations Police (UNPOL) builds and supports host-State police capacity to prevent and detect crime, protect life and property and maintain public order and safety in adherence to the rule of law and international human rights norms.
Global contribution for peace & security
All UNPOL personnel working under the Blue Beret are active members of their home police services seconded to work with the United Nations. “Specialized policing assistance, as part of the conflict prevention toolbox, can help avoid the need for larger-scale interventions down the road”, said UN Secretary-General in the lead up to the second United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (UNCOPS) in Jun 2018.
129 countries have seconded female and male police officers to serve the United Nations Police since 1990.
More than 11,000 United Nations police officers are deployed in 15 United Nations peace operations, namely, MCOLOMBIA, MINURSO, MINUSCA, MINUJUSTH, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, UNAMA, UNAMID, UNFICYP, UNISFA, UNMIK, UNIOGBIS, UNMISS, UNSMIL and UNSOM.
What do we do?
The United Nations has been deploying police officers for service in peace operations since the 1960s. ONUC was the very first United Nations mission where United Nations Police were deployed. The number of United Nations Police officers authorized for deployment in peacekeeping operations and special political missions increased from 5,840 in 1995 to over 11,000 in 2018.
On any given day, United Nations police are providing operational support to host-State counterparts including to protect civilians; help facilitate secure elections; investigate incidents of sexual and gender-based violence; or prevent and address serious organized crime and violent. United Nations Police also assist with the reform, restructuring and development of host-State police services and other law enforcement agencies.
Does United Nations Police have a standing police service?
The United Nations Standing Police Capacity is the rapidly deployable operational wing of the United Nations Police Division, comprising 37 experts, based in Brindisi, Italy, tasked with providing the start-up capability for the police components of new United Nations peace operations, along with providing advice, expertise and assistance in the field of institutional law enforcement capacity building. The second task has, over time, evolved in line with the requirements of the United Nations system, as recognized in Security Council resolution 2382 (2017), which welcomed the support of the Standing Police Capacity to other United Nations entities through the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections arrangement, as well as its work in providing rapid, coherent, effective and responsive start-up and assistance capability for police components in peace operations.
The United Nations Police Division seeks highly qualified police officers from United Nations Member States for service in UN peace missions around the world.
UN police officers are authorized by voted resolutions of the Security Council to serve in peacekeeping operations to implement the mandated policing tasks. They are composed of formed police units (currently 69.72 per cent), individual police officers (currently 34 per cent), which include specialized teams, contracted seconded police and civilian experts.
Find out more information on how to be nominated and serve with United Nations Police.
Women police officers
Women police officers act as role models for gender equality, inspiring women and girls to advocate for their own rights and pursue careers in law enforcement. police officers, moreover, provide a greater sense of security to women and children and improve access and support from law enforcement agencies to local women.
A police service that is representative of the population helps restore trust and confidence in the police, especially from women and children, as the police institution is reformed, restructured and rebuilt. Gender responsive policing increases the operational effectiveness of United Nations Policing. National police services benefit greatly and are more responsive to the entire population when experiences and perspectives of women and men are incorporated in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of police legislation, policies and programmes.
The participation of police officers is critical for the full spectrum of United Nations Police activities, such as leadership, the promotion of rule of law, crime intelligence, operational planning, investigations, public order management, capacity-building of host-State police, community-oriented policing, gender awareness raising and engaging communities.
Police officers also help the United Nations address and respond sexual and gender-based violence.
Increasing the number of women police officers
Women police officers represented 7 per cent (518) of Formed Police Units and 21 per cent (643) of Individual Police Officers, a combined average of 11 per cent. In leadership positions, 29 per cent (4 of 14) heads of police components (P5 to D2) are women, and there are 21 per cent of women in contracted seconded staff across headquarters and 16 per cent in the field (P3-D2).
Following the launch of the ‘Global Effort’ in August 2009, the Police Division has increased interactions with Member States and national police services to recruit more women police officers into United Nations Police operations around the world. The goal is to reach 25 per cent women in seconded contracted professional posts in field missions and headquarters by 2025 and to reach 30 per cent in field missions and 35 percent at headquarters by 2028. In line with Security Council resolution 2242 (2015), the Police Division works towards doubling the number of women in United Nations Police components with the goal of reaching 15 per cent female officers as part of FPUs by 2025 and 20 per cent by 2028 and 25 percent female officers within IPOs by 2025 and 30 percent by 2028.
Mainstreaming gender responsive policing
The Police Division at United Nations Headquarters also provides a coherent and standardised approach to gender mainstreaming by integration best practices and standards into the police-specific United Nations policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures, based on the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping, the UN Peacekeeping Gender Responsive United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (Policy) (2018).
In 2015, the United Nations Police Gender Toolkit was formally adopted as a compendium of project tools and templates and in-person and on-line training materials with standardised best practices on gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping. To better implement gender mainstreaming activities, obtain much-needed extra budgetary funding and to raise awareness of the work and dedication of female police peacekeepers, United Nations Police and the International Network of Female Police Peacekeepers, conduct several activities, such as dialogue with police contributing countries, outreach to female police associations and information campaigns.
International Female Police Peacekeeper Award
Since 2011, every year one serving United Nations Police officer receives the United Nations International Female Police Peacekeeper Award. The award is given to an outstanding women police peacekeeper serving in a United Nations peace operation.
- 2017: Assistant Inspector of Police Annah Chota from Zimbabwe, UNISFA, Abyei
- 2016: Police Superintendent Yvette Boni Zombre from Burkina Faso, serving in MINUSCA, Central African Republic
- 2015: Chief Superintendent Raluca Domuta from Romania, serving in MINUSTAH, Haiti
- 2014: Police Inspector Shakti Devi from India, serving in UNAMA, Afghanistan
- 2013: Commissioner Codou Camara from Senegal, serving in MINUSTAH, Haiti
- 2012: Constable Rezi Danismend from Turkey serving in UNMIL, Liberia
- 2011: Deputy Superintendent Shahzadi Gulfam from Pakistan serving in UNMIT, Timor-Leste
Watch 2016 Recipient Police Superintendent Yvette Boni Zombre explain why a female police officer is so crucial to investigating Sexual and Gender-based Violence:
The United Nations Police, in conjunction with mission components, United Nations partners and others, including the African Union, the European Union, the Organisation de la Francophonie, INTERPOL, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, strengthens rule of law capacities and supports security and justice sector reform in host States, in line with International Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping – SGF. This support reinforces national, regional and international efforts to disrupt criminal networks and address key drivers of conflict and violence, as well as social injustice and inequality.
UNPOL is part of the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections arrangement, which allows the delivery of UN policing expertise in collaboration with other UN entities for effective conflict prevention, , rule-of-law bound peacekeeping and sustainable peacebuilding in both mission and non-mission settings worldwide.
“I strongly believe that the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections arrangement has become a new, indispensable, and system-wide delivery platform”, Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions.
For more information visit the website of United Nations Police (UNPOL).