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Top UN official gets first-hand look at policing operations in Timor-Leste

The top United Nations police official is on a five-day visit to Timor-Leste to observe policing operations on the ground in the fledgling nation.

UN Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler today visited the districts of Bacau and Liquica to meet with officers serving with the Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) and UN Police (UNPOL).

The UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as UNMIT, began handing over primary policing responsibilities in the country’s districts and departments to help establish a professional and credible police force in Timor-Leste, which the UN shepherded to independence in 2002.

So far, policing responsibilities for 10 districts, including Baucau, the second largest city, and six units have been handed over, with only three districts remaining under UN policing command. In addition, the PNTL has taken over the Immigration Department, Border Patrol Unit, Interpol Office and others.

“Try to be patient, and try to keep your commitment,” Ms. Orler told PNTL and UNPOL officers in Baucau after hearing about the challenges Timorese police face in their work.

“I have a lot of trust in you for the future.”

In Liquica, she discussed possible ways to boost women’s involvement in UN policing with the country’s first female PNTL District Commander, Natercia Eufracia Martins.

The UN police chief congratulated Ms. Martins on her position, stressing that “it demonstrates that women are not only victims, they also provide security.”

Ms. Orler, who was appointed as UN Police Adviser this March, highlighted the positive relationship between the PNTL and international police officers serving in Timor-Leste.

“The role of the UNPOL is to support, help and build on the capacity of the PNTL and the role of the PNTL is to demonstrate good working relations,” she said.