[Dateline: New York| Author : DOMP]
UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes recently addressed INTERPOL's General Assembly in Russia, highlighting the threat posed by organized crime to peace in countries recovering from conflict.
Mr. Hughes said the international policing community must work together to develop strategies to address the issue of transnational organized crime, which can act as a major spoiler to international efforts to restore law and order and re-establish peace and security.
Recent initiatives that have resulted from the rapidly expanding cooperation between UN Policing and ICPO-INTERPOL include joint assessment missions toHaiti and West Africa .
"Never before has the level of cooperation between our respective organizations been translated into such tangible outcomes that are improving the capacity and capability of local law enforcement to confront and combat organized crime," Mr. Hughes said.
"Working collaboratively I firmly believe we can beat transnational organized crime, but it will take sustained efforts and commitment to meet the many challenges that lie ahead," he said.
INTERPOL's 77th General Assembly, held inSt Petersburg from 7 to 10 October, focused on developing national police and law enforcement capacity to enhance international policing.
Senior representatives from 187 member countries, including approximately half of the world's national police commissioners, attended the annual General Assembly.
Mr. Hughes thanked the 98 member countries of INTERPOL who currently contribute police officers to peacekeeping, at the same time urging greater contributions, particularly female police officers and specialists in areas such as organized crime investigations, as well as requesting non-contributing countries to reconsider UN Police peacekeeping participation.
Mr. Hughes also met with officials from theRussian Federation to discuss strengthening Russia 's engagement in key areas of police peacekeeping.
Russia currently contributes 83 police officers (including three female officers) to seven UN missions: UNMIK, UNMIT, UNMIS, UNMIL, UNOMIG, MONUC and MINUSTAH.
Mr. Hughes said the Police Division was seeking the assistance of the Russian Government to provide training in a number of areas for future UN Police Peacekeepers, especially those from African regions.
The Russian Police Peacekeeping Training Centre is one of only three Police Training Centres whose courses have received UN recognition.
UN Policing is the fastest growing component of UN peacekeeping. The number of authorized police officers has doubled from 8,315 in January 2006 to 17,080 in October 2008. Currently, more than 11,500 UN police officers, drawn from 98 countries, are deployed in 18 UN peace operations.