Message by Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre François Renaud Lacroix on the International Day of Police Cooperation
7 September 2023
Around the world, police officers work together across neighbourhoods, jurisdictions and borders to protect and serve communities. They dedicate their lives to ensuring the safety and security of others by preventing crime, enforcing laws, responding to emergencies and supporting people in need.
On the first International Day of Police Cooperation, I thank all policing professionals for their contributions. As co-chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Policing, I also pay tribute to those who carry out police and law enforcement activities in the service of the United Nations, providing critical operational support, mentoring, advice and capacity-building assistance that is people-centered, human-rights-based and gender responsive.
On this special occasion, we highlight the importance of women police officers, because we know that their full, equal and meaningful participation across all policing activities is vital to achieving more effective, efficient and accountable services. Gender responsive police patrols and mixed engagement teams are particularly important in ensuring the safety and security of women in conflict-affected areas where the United Nations serves and enabling their full and effective participation in political and peace processes.
Gender parity is an operational imperative for United Nations peacekeeping and our Task Force partners. Increasing the number of uniformed women deployed at all strategic, operational and tactical levels and in all functions is a priority, as is creating more inclusive work environments.
Progress is being made, with the targets set in the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy for three out of four categories of police personnel either met or exceeded last year. Women currently lead United Nations Police components in five peacekeeping operations in Abyei, Cyprus, Kosovo, Mali and South Sudan.
When women lead, we all gain. But more can and must be done to achieve gender parity. In this regard, the Department of Peace Operations is continuing to engage with Police-Contributing Countries on the need for increased recruitment and deployment of women police to peacekeeping operations in all ranks and functions, particularly leadership positions. We need more women police officers on the beat as well as in the top seats at the decision-making table.