Secretary-General, at Meeting of Heads of United Nations Police Components, Calls for Agile, People-centred, Rights-based Force

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the eleventh meeting of Heads of United Nations Police Components, in New York today:

I am honoured to close the eleventh meeting of Heads of United Nations Police Components. Let me begin with a sincere thank you for the valiant efforts of your blue berets, who are protecting civilians and making communities safer around the world.

United Nations police are engaged in United Nations peace operations, post-conflict and other crisis situations across the entire peace and security spectrum. Time and again, we have seen the breakdown of law and order trigger United Nations deployments. And, time and again, I have witnessed how policing can provide a path for the smooth exit of United Nations peace operations.

In the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 16, United Nations police form the bridge between security interventions and post-conflict stability. Your contribution is essential to effective, accountable and transparent rule of law institutions.

Building on your essential role in supporting durable political solutions, I envisage a United Nations police that is people-centred, rights-based, modern and agile. For that, policing tasks need to be realistic and adequately resourced. Safety, security and welfare provisions must be in place to facilitate effective operations. United Nations police should be the most qualified, able, best trained and best equipped to fulfil their mandate.

Today, I would like to acknowledge four noteworthy achievements: First, you have increased the number of women police officers as a result of strategic generation initiatives, including the first United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit. This month, you reached the goal of 20 per cent women police officers. I encourage you to continue these efforts. I know my successor, Mr. Antonio Guterres, will continue to emphasize the critical role of women in forging peace.

Second, by conferring responsibilities to host-State police, United Nations police have allowed our peacekeepers to exit successfully in Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone. In addition, transition efforts are ongoing in Liberia, CAte d'Ivoire and Haiti, in line with host-State priorities.

Third, you have refined integrated approaches with your justice, corrections, development and human rights partners. In the spirit of "One UN", I commend you for operationalizing the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections arrangement that I called for in June 2012.

Fourth, partnerships, along with broad and inclusive consultations, have advanced the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping. I am pleased that we now have a doctrine on international policing that is as close to universal as practically possible.

In my forthcoming report to the Security Council, I have given my broad support to the proposed new requirements set out in the External Review of the Police Division.

Your dialogue with the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations this past Monday, and with the Security Council yesterday, are critical building blocks towards implementing the recommendations of the External Review in close collaboration with Member States.

I am also reassured that you have reviewed your responsibilities and used the measures at your disposal to ensure compliance with my zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. This is critical for being able to protect those most in need.

I am proud to see how far United Nations police have come. Our blue berets - the 13,500 men and women serving under the UNPOL banner - embody the spirit of the United Nations Charter. I applaud you all for your commitment and the sacrifices that your officers make in the name of lasting peace.

Source: United Nations.

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