United Nations

UN Police

United Nations Police develop community policing in refugee or internally-displaced persons camps, they mentor and in some cases train national police officers, they provide specialization in different types of investigations and in a number of countries they help law enforcement agents to address transnational crime.

What the UN Police do in the field

United Nations Police are deployed at the same time as military personnel in most peacekeeping operations and are deployed as advisers in a number of UN special political missions. Their duties are defined by the mandates that the missions are given and can range from executive to advisory functions.

A row of UN Police officers wearing blue helmets and holding shields with the letters UN on the front.

Pakistani FPU assist in Timorese police exercises. UN Photo/Martine Perret

In an advisory function the role of United Nations Police varies according to the mandate of the peace mission in which they are working. United Nations Police develop community policing in refugee or internally-displaced persons camps, they mentor and in some cases train national police officers, they provide specialization in different types of investigations and in a number of countries they help law enforcement agents to address transnational crime. Accountable police services are an important part of rule of law in most societies. United Nations Police aim to reinforce or re-establish domestic police services in order to create the conditions for sustainable peace and development.

Assistance to host-state police and other law enforcement agencies

United Nations Police Officers support the reform, restructuring and rebuilding of domestic police and other law enforcement agencies through training and advising. Direct assistance is also provided, often through trust funds, for the refurbishment of facilities and the procurement of vehicles, communication equipment and other law enforcement material. Such assistance has been provided, for example, by the police components of peace operations in the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB), the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO),  the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti(MINUSTAH), the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Interim law enforcement

In some missions, United Nations Police Officers are directly responsible for all policing and other law enforcement functions and have a clear authority and responsibility for the maintenance of law and order. They are, among other things, entrusted with powers to arrest, detain and search. These responsibilities have historically been given as part of United Nations transitional administrations, as was the case in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Protecting UN personnel and material

United Nations police officers, particularly members of Formed Police Units, support host-state police and law enforcement agencies in the execution of their functions.

UN Police officers standing and squating around a man in a desert landscape with brush in the background.

UN Police working in the UN Mission in Chad (MINURCAT) with the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité (DIS) at a refugee camp in Farchana. UN Photo

They are not, however, considered as law enforcement officers under the legislation of the host country and their prerogatives are consequently limited: they may, however, stop, detain and search individuals in accordance with the mandate of the mission and specific directives issued by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. They also play a key role in the protection of United Nations personnel and facilities. Such security functions, in support of domestic law enforcement agencies, are currently performed by members of Formed Police Units assigned to the United Nations missions in the Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Liberia (UNMIL).