I am representing Japan in the UN Police Strategic Guidance Framework meeting this week. It is on police administration, and this guidance document that is under development will be an important document that guides the UN Police, in particular the people at the top level in UN peace missions, in their activities related to administration – recruitment, selection, deployment; logistics; budget; code of conduct and discipline; and coordination within the police and other mission components.
For me, the biggest thing that I would like to contribute, and where I believe lies the biggest challenge for the UN Police operations, is how we can improve the recruitment, selection, deployment and discipline: 1. to get sufficient number of UN police personnel with adequate skills; and 2. to keep discipline and hold individuals accountable for their actions.
What is coming out is, as expected, a lot of difficulties. One high-ranking police personnel mentioned: ‘if you want us to conduct arrests, give us means to effect arrests’. I completely share that view. UN Police has an ever challenging job with such limited resources, both human and others. The division between the UN’s political organ that creates impossible mandates and the capacity of those people who are deployed, including the issue of whether or not they have the right skillsets and whether or not they are sufficiently equipped, must be solved. This shall be discussed transparently at the UN’s political organ. When making a mandate, available resources must be taken into account. They can not decide to protect civilians in quasi-combat situations without providing means for the people who are tasked to deliver the mandate.
The UN is facing big challenges. They can not be solved if the UN can not mitigate the gap between the decision-makers and people on the ground.