Global effort leads to increase in female UN police worldwide

Female police officers serving in UN peacekeeping operations in Haiti

16 June 2011 – More and more countries are getting behind a United Nations initiative designed to boost the number of female police serving in peace operations, with women now accounting for just over 10 per cent of the more than 14,000 officers deployed worldwide, a senior official said today.

In August 2009 the UN launched the “Global Effort” with the aim of more than doubling the proportion of women comprising UN Police (UNPOL) to 20 per cent by 2014.

The Organization believes that female police greatly increase the effectiveness of UN police components and help build trust with populations and inspire more women to become police officers in the countries where they serve.

“Since launching the effort, we have not only increased the overall number of police deployed by more than 3,000 officers but we have also increased the percentage of female officers from less than 7 per cent to just over 10 per cent,” UN Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler told a news conference at UN Headquarters.

“More and more countries around the world are getting behind this effort,” she added.

Currently, the top five contributing countries of female police officers are Nigeria, Bangladesh, Rwanda, India and Ghana.

Over the past six months, Ms. Orler has visited some of the most important partners for UN policing, namely Bangladesh, India, Jordan and Pakistan, which together contribute almost 40 per cent of the world body’s force.

“I paid a visit to these countries to thank them for their ongoing support and to explain in person the increasingly specialized skills that we seek in police officers and to continue to highlight our need to recruit more female officers,” said Ms. Orler.

UN Police are deployed in 11 peacekeeping operations (led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations) and five special political missions (led by the Department of Political Affairs), including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Somalia and Sudan.

They are involved in a range of activities such as training local law enforcement personnel, conducting joint patrols with national police and helping to provide security for local elections.

In the special political missions, UN Police are working with national police services to build capacity in law enforcement and to assist with police reform, Ms. Orler noted.

“Our aim is to strengthen and make accountable the security sector so that guardians of public order do not exacerbate political tensions.”


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