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Identifying Lessons in United Nations International Policing Missions

31 December, 2004



Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Challenges in Policing Operations
2.1. The Security Gap
2.2. Training and Reform of Local Forces
2.3. Judicial Reform
2.4. Penal Reform
2.5. Traditional Justice Mechanisms

3. Lessons Identified and Learned
3.1. Mandate
3.2. Planning
3.3. Needs Assessments
3.4. Resources
3.5. Donor Coordination
3.6. Coordination, Cooperation and Communication(Internal, External, Local)
3.7. Predeployment Training
3.8. Deployment
3.9. National Doctrine – A Common Standard
3.10. Quality of Personnel and Skills
3.11. Rotation
3.12. Accountability
3.13. Institutional Memory (in Field and Headquarters)
3.14. Capacity-building (Regional and International)
3.15. Local Ownership

4. Conclusions and Recommendations

Annex – Civilian Police Contributions to UN Peace Operations


This paper gives an introduction to international policing operations and its key issues. It discusses the crucial challenges that face all international civilian police missions in United Nations peace operations, as well as the lessons learned and identified in the past decades of international policing. The challenges examined in this paper include addressing the security gap, applying an integrated approach to police, penal and judicial reform, all while paying heed to local justice mechanisms.

The paper offers a review of the main issues most frequently experienced in international policing operations. There has been significant progress in some areas of international policing, which will be highlighted, whereas in other areas lessons that are repeatedly identified are not implemented by policymakers. Past and present thinking surrounding these issues and potential solutions are discussed. The paper considers the problems with international policing operations at its different levels - from predeployment issues such as mandate, planning, resources and donor coordination, to factors in the field including the quality and rotation of personnel, accountability, institutional memory, capacitybuilding, local ownership, and "hand-over". The argument is made for the necessity of applying a holistic, integrated approach to policing operations by addressing all aspects of rule of law, including judicial and penal reform, from the outset in international policing missions so as to ensure heightened efficiency and success of such operations.