[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]
Following up on a “Global Effort” launched in August 2009 to increase the number of female police officers serving with the UN and Member States, a workshop was held last week to boost the goal of reaching 20% of females in police deployed by 2014, from 8% today.
“No society has 92 percent men and 8 percent women - yet this is precisely the composition of our deployed officers on the ground. We need more police women to efficiently do our policing work,” said a UN Police Adviser at a workshop held from 28 May to 4 June in New York.
Police gender focal points from UN peace missions, Member States police gender officers from Ireland, Liberia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Nigeria, as well as EUPOL, COESPU, met at UNHQ and worked for seven days to help develop a “UN Police Standardized Best Practices Toolkit on Gender and Policing in Peacekeeping Operations."
As a background to the meeting, on June 1st, the second all female Formed Police Unit (FPU) got fully deployed from Bangladesh to Haiti. The first all-female FPU was deployed by India to Liberia in 2007, and has remained since - with annual rotations this means that some 500 women have served as part of this deployment. A mixed male-female FPU from Nigeria is also deployed in Liberia and many Member States have deployed women to Sudan to work with local police services in the internally displaced person camps through UNMIS and UNAMID. There are 13,420 police officers working for the UN today.
On 4 June, Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon underlined that “by empowering women within the United Nations we are not just upholding the principles for which we stand. We make ourselves a better organization.” “This is particularly true when we increase the participation of women police officers in peacekeeping. By empowering women we build stronger societies. When a crowd needs to be controlled, a house searched or a suspect questioned, a policewoman’s presence can defuse tension and guard against offense,” he said.
The participants in this workshop were also present at the ceremony for the International Day for UN peacekeepers on 28 May.