Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interpol, UN to forge international police force

Paris: Interpol and the United Nations are poised to become partners in fighting crime by jointly grooming a global police force that would be deployed as peacekeepers among rogue nations riven by war and organized crime, officials from both organizations say.

On Monday, justice and foreign ministers from more than 60 countries, including the US and China, are gathering in Singapore for a meeting hosted by the two international organizations.
It is the first step toward creating what Interpol calls a “global policing doctrine” that would enable Interpol and the UN to improve the skills of police peacekeepers, largely by sharing a secure communications network and a vast electronic trove of criminal information, including DNA records, fingerprints, photographs and fugitive notices. “We have a visionary model,” said Ronald K Noble, secretary general of Interpol and the first American to head the international police organization, which is based in Lyon. More than 187 member nations finance the organization.“The police will be trained and equipped differently with resources,” Noble said. “When they stop someone, they will be consulting global databases to determine who they are stopping.”
Modern peacekeeping has evolved dramatically since the blue-helmeted UN military force won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1988. Since 2005, the number of police officers within the total force of 95,400 peacekeepers has more than doubled from about 6,000 to 12,200 in 17 countries.UN police are already battling kidnappings and drug crime in Haiti and illicit lumber trading in Liberia. The aim of the joint effort is to increase the ability to track the movement of criminals around the world by sharing resources and common standards, according to Noble. He is also pressing ahead with plans for special electronic passports for the agency’s staff of more than 600 Interpol investigators to speed border crossings.The Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs is contributing more than $2 million to finance the development of a global police force, according to Andrew Hughes, an Australian who currently heads the UN’s force of police officers.
The ambition is to create a series of networks to counter borderless organized criminal operations. Women, in particular, are being recruited, with a goal of reaching 20% of the UN force and the development of all-female units like the group of 140 peacekeepers from Bangladesh about to be deployed. Hughes said, “Many victims of atrocities are women, and they’ve had enough of men with guns and uniforms.”

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