Closing remarks by the UN Resident Coordinator,Anders Pedersen at the UN STANDARDISED FORMED POLICE UNITS TRAIN-the-TRAINERS COURSE at Botswana Police College,Otse

May 25, 2012

Let me start by expressing my profound gratitude to Botswana Police Service for having accepted to host this course. It is a demonstration that Botswana as a nation is committed to capacity building initiatives. This Course could not have come at a better time when the demand for formed Police Units is ever increasing in contemporary Peace support circles.  

On a personal note, I have very positive experiences of working together with the Police from a variety of countries. I remember vividly how I as a young/-er UN Legal Advisor to the UN Mission in El Salvador in 1989-1992 work hand in hand with police from Italy, Spain and a number of other countries. Step by step we got to know each other, we started to understand each other and eventually we fully valued each other’s role and function, strength and weaknesses. Together we formed a strong team. 

Today, in 2012, we have taken many steps forward. Having military personnel, human rights advisors and other civilian staff, is not new. On the contrary it has become the way we work. Your role as trainers of police officers that eventually will take part in UN Missions around the globe, ongoing and new, is no doubt critical. 

This course brought together 47 participants from 22 countries, conducted and directed by 11 Police expert Instructors mandated by the UN. The United Nations Standardised Formed Police Units Train-the Trainer Course is a crucial training intervention that will equip trainers with the necessary knowledge and practical skills. The rationale is to have these trainers, i.e. you here present, to in turn train their fellow counterparts in their own countries. This helps to cover a larger number of Formed Police Units as their services are more than required in the contemporary multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary Peace Support Operations. 

United Nations Formed Police Units are defined as cohesive mobile police units, providing support to United Nations operations and ensuring the safety and security of United Nations personnel and missions, primarily in public order management. As a coherent part of the United Nations police component, FPUs work is to support the establishment and maintenance of safety, democracy and human rights by assisting with professional, responsive and more robust policing in accordance with the mandate of any given Mission.

I am positive that as you graduate today, you have internalized the following as the three core tasks FPUs:
(i)   Public order management;
(ii) Protection of United Nations personnel and facilities;
(iii) Supporting police operations that require a stronger response and may involve higher risk, above the general capability of individual United Nations Police.

In accordance with mandated tasks, FPUs contribute to the protection of civilians by undertaking core tasks of public order management, protection of United Nations mission personnel and facilities and support to higher risk police operations. Where the level of violence exceeds what can be addressed through these functions, or exceeds the available resources of the deployed FPUs, situations will be addressed by the military peacekeeping forces.

I believe this course clearly spelt out that the FPUs must always exercise their functions strictly according to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and other rules and regulations relevant for the mission to which they are assigned. They must also exercise their functions in strict accordance with international human rights and criminal justice norms and international policing standards.

The deployment and operations of FPUs will always be based on the principles of necessity, proportionality and the exercise of minimum level of force, legality and accountability. All actions of FPUs will be aimed at the protection and preservation of human life, property, liberty and dignity. The principle of necessity entails that law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.

The FPU has a role in situations of public disorder of a non-military nature. This generally refers to situations of public disorder where there is no sustained use of firearms or military weaponry. In such circumstances, the FPUs should have primacy in addressing such situations in support of or in cooperation with host state law enforcement agencies applicable. I am sure that these are the aspects of the training that were carefully impressed upon you and that you shall in turn pass on this message as you qualify as trainers today.

I hope you have benefited from this training. I am also hopeful that you have established networks both at professional and friendship levels. This will go a long way in assisting you to function successfully in your new role. It is widely accepted that in contemporary policing and law enforcement, the need to have networks with colleagues beyond the borders of your own country cannot be overemphasized.  As it is usually said, it is one thing acquiring knowledge and it is yet another putting it to use. And in this case putting it to use includes sharing it with your colleagues who have not yet had the opportunity to participate in this training. I encourage you to share the knowledge and skills you acquired with others.

I wish all of you travelling back to your respective countries a safe journey and a happy re-union with your families and loved ones. Six weeks is a long time to be away from home, but we are happy that it was for a good cause and that you all enjoyed and benefitted from this experience. 

I now have the pleasure to declare the UNITED NATIONS STANDARDISED FORMED POLICE UNITS TRAIN THE TRAINERS COURSE officially closed.I thank you for your attention!

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