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Effective police response planning to COVID-19 highlighted during joint UNDP-UN Police webinar

About 200 policing specialists from around the world participated in a webinar on "Police Planning During COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges, Best Practices and Lessons Learned" organized by the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO) Police Division (PD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 19 May 2020.

The webinar provided an opportunity for PD and UNDP to present the principal elements of their joint guidance note on police planning during the current COVID-19 pandemic, which was issued on 1 April 2020, and to share examples of effective practices from across the globe with the participants. United Nations staff from DPO, UNDP, UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UNWomen, among others, participated from Headquarters, regional and national offices, as well as from the UN Police components of peace operations in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). 

UNDP Head of Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights Katy Thompson moderated the event, followed by presentations on the challenges to a police response during the COVID-19 pandemic by UNDP Policy Specialist Sofiene Bacha and on the key elements of a police response plan by PD Chief of Strategic Policy and Development Section, Andrew Carpenter.

United Nations Police then shared lessons learned on police planning and activities that had a positive impact on local communities, including strengthening the relationship between the police and the population. Panelists from PD, DPO and UNDP Country Offices shared their experiences and effective practices in many different locations, including the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo, Lebanon, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen. They emphasized the important role of community-oriented and gender-responsive police approaches in responding to the pandemic.

UNDP Yemen praised the joint UNDP-UNPOL guidance documents for being clear, concise and timely, and noted that they had been immediately put in use in support of local communities there.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, police services are being called on at every stage of the emergency response and remain a key interface with the population to respond to their needs and concerns. For this reason, police planning is key to addressing evolving issues related to preparedness, response and recovery following the pandemic.