OCCASIONAL PAPER No. 4, AUGUST 2014 Police in UN Peace Operations: Evolving Roles and Requirements

The role of United Nations Police (UNPOL) in UN peace operations has changed dramatically since the turn of the century, in quantity and quality. Security Council mandates have charged UNPOL with operational as well as capacity-building duties, while mission operating environments have become steadily more difficult.

The UN has come to rely increasingly on formed police units (FPUs) from a relatively small number of states but should consider redirecting most of the resources required to equip and train dozens of new FPUs per year toward building comparable local capacity under UN mission control. While new UN guidance and training materials help to professionalize UNPOL deployments, UN missions now have far fewer UNPOL from community-oriented police services than they did ten years ago. The UN urgently needs such contributions–and partnerships with like-minded donors–to help build both the local police services and the trust in government that peace and the rule of law require over the long haul.

Dr William Durch, Stimson Center, Washington, DC. Dr Durch served as a foreign affairs officer with the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, a research fellow at the Harvard Center for Science and International Affairs, and as Assistant Director of the Defense and Arms Control Studies program at MIT, prior to joining the Henry L Stimson Center in 1990.

Dr Durch holds a PhD from MIT and a BSFS from Georgetown. He has been seconded from Stimson as a Scientific Adviser to the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency and to the United Nations as Project Director for the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the Brahimi Report).

He has lectured extensively on peace operations and has taught at the Johns Hopkins Sais, the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, and the Elliott School at George Washington University. Recent publications include:

  • Enhancing United Nations Capacity to Support Post-Conflict Policing and Rule of Law: Revised and Updated, with Madeline L. England, Stimson Report No. 63, Rev. 1, August 2010; and
  • Improving Criminal Accountability in United Nations Peace Operations, co-authored with Katherine N. Andrews and Madeline L. England, Stimson Report No. 65, rev.1, June 2009.