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United Nations Standing Police Capacity continues vital support amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the work of the entire Organization, and the United Nations Police Division’s Standing Police Capacity (SPC) is no exception. However, as the rapidly deployable operational asset of the United Nations Police based in Brindisi, Italy, the SPC has demonstrated its agility by quickly adapting to continue its vital support to UN peace operations and UN Country Teams through the following actions:


Emergency Measures

The deployments of SPC experts to three of the largest peacekeeping missions (MONUSCO, MINUSCA and UNAMID) were exceptionally extended to maintain its support during this challenging time. Alongside other UN Police officers, these experts provide significant assistance to their respective missions and the host-State police and other law enforcement to combat the spread of the pandemic while continuing to support the implementation of mandated tasks. These contributions include ensuring the safety of uniformed and civilian personnel, enabling the participation of millions of voters in democratic processes, minimizing the environmental footprint in UN offices and police co-location sites, and contingency planning.


Contingency Planning

In accordance with United Nations strategies and guidance, including from the World Health Organization, the SPC team consistently provides policing services and implements preventive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Although the SPC team continues to assist in the fulfillment of the strategic missions of the UN Police in the field, including by organizing virtual coordination meetings, its programs have been interrupted by the pandemic, particularly because of travel restrictions. In response, SPC engaged with the German Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs to extend the deadlines for capacity-building activities that were initially planned for 2020 through the Government’s generous support for UN standing capacities based in Brindisi (police and justice and corrections).


New Modus Operandi

The SPC is adapting to new methods of operating, including remote assistance, increased use of digital services and information technology, and digital public information and outreach.

  • Remote assistance has been one of its comparative strengths since its inception. Recently, SPC co-organized virtual training workshops, in partnership with the UN Development Programme and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on policing and respect for human rights during COVID-19 states of emergency in Angola, Zambia and Maldives, as well as a community-oriented policing initiative in The Gambia.
  • SPC supported UNAMID UNPOL to review nine standard operating procedures on the functions of the Sudan Police Force, design IT solutions including a new compliance system, and develop a Monthly Performance Evaluation Rating (MPER) system.