EAST TIMOR POLICE SERVICE MARKS SECOND ANNIVERSARY
The East Timor Police Service celebrated its second anniversary today with a promotion ceremony for 23 officers and an action-packed display of crowd-control techniques being taught to the ETPS Special Police Unit.
UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, ETPS Commissioner Paulo Martins, Internal Administration Minister Antoninho Bianco and other guests were treated to a mock riot by volunteers who threw bottles of water and debris at the Special Police Unit (SPU). In response, the SPU trainees contained and controlled the mob using several crowd management techniques.
Afterward, 23 Police College graduates who recently completed an additional nine months of training were promoted to the rank of full-fledged police agents.
The anniversary marks the date when the first 50 East Timorese cadets began their training at the Police College in Dili on 27 March 2000.
“There are today in this institution more than 1,500 officers trained and graduated at this academy. We should all be proud of having achieved this in such a short time,” Vieira de Mello said in a speech at the ceremony.
The ETPS has a projected target of 2,800 officers by the year 2003, including border security officers. Most Police College graduates are currently in the field undergoing Field Training Programmes in investigations, close protection, crowd control, administration, traffic control and maritime security.
The ETPS is also steadily taking a larger role in national policing duties that are currently the responsibility of the multinational UN Police force stationed in East Timor.
In Viqueque district this week, ETPS officers took command of all policing activities for one day, while UN Police remained on standby to provide advice and direction if required. The one-day-a-week shift is being implemented in all of the territory’s 13 districts to test the ability of ETPS officers and provide them with experience before the UN Police force slowly hands its duties over to the ETPS after East Timor gains independence on 20 May.
“The transfer of operational competencies from the United Nations Police to ETPS will begin symbolically in Aileu district on the 20th of May, and district by district the process will continue until January 2004,” Vieira de Mello explained at the ceremony.
DSRSG WRAPS UP OFFICIAL VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Dennis McNamara today wrapped up a three-day official visit to New Zealand during which he met with senior government officials to discuss New
Zealand’s continued engagement in East Timor after the territory’s independence on 20 May.
McNamara met today with New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice, Phil Goff, and yesterday with Minister of Defence, Mark Burton.
The key issues discussed included New Zealand’s continued support in East Timor’s post-independence military and governance sectors. After the meetings, McNamara said that New Zealand had reconfirmed its commitment and determination to build a partnership with East Timor’s government, and would look closely at specific requests presented by the Deputy SRSG for continued direct bilateral assistance and support for training in sectors such as justice and police.
The ministers also emphasized that New Zealand will maintain some military presence in East Timor – including its ongoing training support for the East Timor Defence Force – after the eventual departure of the New Zealand Battalion.
New Zealand also confirmed that it would be represented at a high-level at East Timor’s Independence Day Celebrations in May, and would also look closely at a request to help support the celebrations.