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Published:November 6th, 2007 09:33 EST

Need for more officers at INTERPOL meeting

By SOP newswire

More Member States need to increase the number of qualified police officers they supply to United Nations peacekeeping missions to deal with the unprecedented expansion in global policing, the world body’s top police officer told the INTERPOL General Assembly today.

Addressing around 800 delegates and observers including 72 heads of national police agencies, UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes told the gathering in Marrakech, Morocco, that the number of UN Police (UNPOL) officers needed in missions worldwide will increase to more than 16,000 by next year from just under 10,000 at the moment.

“We’ve seen an extraordinary increase in the demand for UN Police officers in the past year or two and this growth is likely to continue so we need more countries to contribute quality officers. Currently 92 Member States contribute police personnel but there are 192 members of the UN so we need greater involvement,” said Mr. Hughes.

In particular, the UN mission authorized for Sudan’s Darfur region will require the largest single UN Police contingent ever with more than 6,400 police officers out of a total of over 30,000 personnel.

“It’s also important to increase the number of female police officers in UN service and also to increase geographical diversity. We welcome the support that we’ve received from Member States so far but more is needed if the UN is to address the multitude of peacekeeping challenges that it faces,” added Mr. Hughes.

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 186 member countries, and today is the first time that a UN Police Adviser has addressed the annual meeting of its supreme governing body. Several international and regional organizations are also attending the four-day event, including the European Police Office, Europol.

Mr. Hughes’s attendance at the 76th INTERPOL General Assembly grew out of discussions held at the International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC) meeting in Canberra, Australia in August, during which it was decided that UNPOL would work more closely with other international and regional policing organizations.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Police Division now comes under the new Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions. This new structure is part of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s wider reform of peacekeeping, developed in response to the growing global need for peacekeeping operations. The Office also comprises the Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Section, the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section, the Security Sector Reform Section and the Mine Action Service.

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