Police officers play an important role in UN peacekeeping missions mandated by the UN Security Council. Police officers oftentimes work under very difficult conditions to maintain public order and protect the civilian population in conflict zones. At the UN Security Council's annual open debate on police components in peacekeeping missions, Switzerland emphasised their importance for peace and security and underlined several areas which would allow police components to carry out their work even more effectively.
This includes support for the training of local police forces in the host countries of UN peacekeeping missions. Local authorities must be empowered to ensure the security of their population. Specifically, for example, the capacity of the local police to maintain public order during elections must be strengthened. Elements of the UN police also act as an early warning mechanism. Thanks to their daily interactions with the population, they have an extensive network at their disposal. Against this backdrop, it is crucial that police personnel are able to communicate with the local population and receive context-specific training. Such training can ensure that the information received is used adequately in the mission-planning phase, for example to protect the civilian population. Preparing police commanders for the numerous challenges they face in conflict zones is key to ensuring that such important decisions can be made. Switzerland therefore hosts an annual two-week course for police commanders in UN peacekeeping missions, which is currently being held in Stans, Nidwalden.
Switzerland actively contributes to the activities of the police in the UN and detaches police officers to peace missions, for example in the Democratic Republic of Congo or South Sudan. In addition to their professional expertise, the language skills of Swiss police personnel are also an important asset. As part of its activities at the UN, Switzerland will continue to contribute to the effectiveness of peace missions.