The Commissioner of Police Brigadier Sitiveni Qiliho attended the 2nd United Nations Chief of Police Summit (UNCOPS) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 and 21 June.

UNCOPS brought together Ministers, Chiefs of Police and police representatives from 123 countries.

Also in attendance at the Summit was the Police Commissioner for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Unaisi Bolatolu-Vuniwaqa.

During the Summit, Ministers, Police Leaders and Senior United Nations officials discussed the increasingly critical role that United Nations Police perform to prevent conflict and sustain peace in United Nations Peace Operations.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations  Jean-Pierre Lacroix highlighted the challenges and the changing role of the United Nations Police. The operating environment for United Nations Police has grown more complex with the dynamics of conflicts involving states, armed groups and warring factions. There is also a growing correlation between transnational crime groups i.e. terrorist and criminal gangs and national and regional insecurity.

This has raised the level of asymmetric threat facing Police peacekeepers. UN Police need to become better at peacebuilding and conflict prevention. This is both cost effective; it also saves lives.

The Under-Secretary General for the UN Department of Field Support Atul Khare also recognized policing as an indispensable peace agent. He said that a representative, responsive and accountable policing is therefore a public good and an indispensable peace multiplier. United Nations Police train, mentor, advise and empower host Police officers and other sectors of rule of law and society. This role will increase in future.

The role of the United Nations police has now evolved and become more sophisticated. UNPOL officers perform various tasks from providing basic security and protecting civilians to developing sustainable host states capacity to addressing serious and organized crime and promoting peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Against the background of growing complexity, the Summit participants commended the development of the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping, a global police doctrine, which ensures coherence and consistency in the police assistance provided to the host States.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, in his address to the Summit on the issue of ‘preventing conflict and sustaining peace’ highlighted that due to Fiji’s participation in United Nations Peacekeeping over the years, peacekeeping has now become part of Fiji’s identity – a key part of its foreign policy. He highlighted the UN’s recognition of Fiji Police, including in appointing a Fijian senior officer as UNMISS Police Commissioner.

For a small country Fiji has contributed a lot to United Nations Police Peacekeeping. Fiji Police has also been engaged in regional partnership with Pacific island countries, to deter, minimize and prevent the impact of transnational crime on Fiji.

The Commissioner of Police will be holding bilateral discussions with counterparts for the Pacific Region and Internationally. He will be discussing, technical assistance and capacity building in these meetings. Fiji stands ready to provide further support to UN Policing.

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