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Research Report

Police in UN Peacekeeping:: Improving Selection, Recruitment, and Deployment

Copyright Date: Nov. 1, 2013
Pages: 50

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. i-ii)
  3. (pp. iii-iii)
  4. (pp. iv-vi)
  5. (pp. 1-3)
  6. (pp. 3-4)

    In the past two decades, United Nations police (UNPOL) have become an increasingly visible and important part of UN peacekeeping. Second only to military peacekeepers in numbers, about 12,600 UN police served in UN peace operations in mid-2013. Their roles have evolved over the decades from observing and reporting to mentoring, training, reforming, operating alongside, and occasionally standing in for local police as a postwar government is re-established with international help.

    Authorized numbers of UN police increased by at least 25 percent per year from 2003 through 2007, outpacing the UN Secretariat’s capacities for supportive strategic planning and doctrine, selection,...

  7. (pp. 4-10)

    UN police peacekeeping has become a standard feature of UN peace operations in the 21st century, but it is also growing in size and in complexity of tasks. As police mandates have become more complex and new tools have been introduced to meet these evolving demands, the UN Police Division has also linked up with like-minded institutions outside the UN system to gain traction in international law enforcement matters beyond specific Security Council mandates.

    The evolution of UN police peacekeeping can be described in terms of three categories of missions: traditional, transformational, and interim law enforcement. This typology is helpful...

  8. (pp. 10-15)

    UN Police planning, recruiting, and training are not what they used to be, and that is a good thing. As the demands placed on police peacekeepers have evolved in the past decade, so too have the structures for creating policies for police in the field and for recruiting field personnel. This section sketches the development of the UN Police Division in DPKO; the process of building a mission police component; the DPKO/DFS Global Field Support Strategy’s implications for UN police; and the potential impact of the new Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections established at UN Headquarters.


  9. (pp. 15-23)

    Among the many challenges in building effective mission police components are finding sufficient personnel with the right talents and experience; achieving and maintaining gender balance; building “democratic” police services with UN police from less democratic countries; and maintaining quality control in recruitment and in the field.

    As the authorization ceilings for UN police continued to climb from 2003 through 2010, so did aggregate police vacancy rates in missions, which peaked at 32 percent in the 2008–2009 budgetary year (see table 2). Since the advent of a dedicated selection and recruitment team in the Police Division, beginning in earnest in...

  10. (pp. 23-26)

    Aside from recruiting talented, qualified, and committed people, the biggest challenges in police peacekeeping may be (1) developing a common understanding of UN police practice and procedure within a multinational body of police; (2) developing enough local knowledge to be useful and enough local respect to put that knowledge to good use; (3) promoting intelligence-led police peacekeeping; (4) managing police-military relations; and (5) ensuring discipline within the ranks.

    UN police received some early high-level guidance in a “UN Blue Book” issued in 1994, followed by an operational handbook in 2005 and a 2009 UN Blue Book update, called “United Nations...

  11. (pp. 26-32)

    Contributors to UN peace operations are largely divided into those that pay for peace operations and those that staff them, and contributions of personnel are nearly as concentrated as contributions of money. There were seventy-seven PCCs in April 2013, but just ten of them contributed nearly 70 percent of UN police personnel.80 Out of the 193 UN member states that contribute to the peacekeeping budget, just ten of them contribute over 80 percent of total peacekeeping funds.

    The 2009 DPKO-DFS New Horizon non-paper called for more equal burden-sharing through “expanding the base of troop- and policecontributing countries.” This was echoed...

  12. (pp. 33-37)

    Most of the timing and skills acquisition issues that plague police peacekeeping could be fixed at relatively modest additional cost. We begin with two options for recruitment and staffing shortfalls, and then look at reinforcing a gender perspective, adjusting terms of service to better deal with misconduct, improving knowledge management, and building local alternatives to most FPU deployments. We close the section with a note on what member states can do to support police peacekeeping and to better utilize the experience of those who serve abroad.

    The broad diversity of UN member states tends to ensure that change in organizational...

  13. (pp. 38-41)
  14. (pp. 42-42)