United Nations

UN Police

«In societies emerging from war, citizens often fear local police, who may have been associated with the conflict. Deploying to these communities, United Nations Police must do more than help rebuild damaged infrastructure -- they must repair broken faith in the authorities.»

Jan Eliasson
Deputy Secretary-General



Since 1993, there has been a Civilian Police Unit inside of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). In 2000, the United Nations Panel on Peace Operations issued a major study — known as “the Brahimi Report”—on improving United Nations peacekeeping operations. This panel called for, among other things, a “doctrinal shift” in the use of police and other rule of law elements to support a greater focus on reform and restructuring activities. The panel recommended that police work together with their justice, corrections and other rule of law colleagues in a coordinated and integrated manner. In 2000, the Police Division was established,  and in 2007 it became a part of the DPKO Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions.

The role of United Nations Police has expanded rapidly over the last decade. Not only has the United Nations almost tripled the number of police authorized for deployment (from less than 6,000 to more than 17,500), but also UN police mandates have become more multi-dimensional. In the UN missions in Kosovo and Timor-Leste, UN Police were given an executive mandate to safeguard law and order while facilitating the launch of a new domestic police service. The UN police mission in Kosovo helped to successfully establish the Kosovo Police Service, while in Timor-Leste, districts of the country have been continuously handed over to the National Police (PNTL), while UN Police return to their more traditional role of advising and mentoring.

The Police Division is increasingly called upon to help to reform national police services and to support the UN Department of Political Affairs in its special political missions: United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) and United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). UN Police are also called upon to provide security for United Nations staff and resources in missions and to support national police in duties such as crowd control, securing political rallies and elections.

Work that the Police Division is undertaking today includes:

  • Policy and guidance development: Creating policy and guidance and defining the parameters of international police peacekeeping.
  • Strategic planning: Strengthening the Police Division’s resources and ability to conduct strategic planning.
  • Selection and recruitment processes: Improving efforts to recruit, select, deploy and rotate highly qualified staff in missions. Increasing the number of female officers in the UN Police service.
  • Operational support to missions through the Standing Police Capacity: Increasing the effectiveness of the operational support provided by the Standing Police Capacity.
  • Response to Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV): Strengthening its response to sexual and gender-based violence and is creating guidance to assist its police officers.
  • Global Lead, partnerships and regional cooperation: leading the area of international policing and developing partnerships for more effective delivery of its mandates.
  • Related Document

  • United Nations Police Division Multi Year Vision and Strategy 2020