The UN Police Adviser, Ann-Marie Orler, said that the organization's initiative to boost the number of female police officers deployed in peacekeeping missions around the globe was recording 'significant' progress. The Pan African News Agency (PANA) recalled that the initiative, tagged: 'Global Effort was launched in August, last year.'
It is aimed at more than doubling the proportion of women in UN Police (UNPOL) to 20 per cent by 2014.
Speaking at the annual training conference of the International Association of Women Police in Minneapolis, US, on Wednesday, Orler said: 'Today, about 8.7 per cent of the almost 14,000 UNPOL deployed around the world ' or 1,218' are women'.
In a copy of her speech, given to the PANA in New York on Thursday, she noted that, 'although, it is only been a year since we launched the Global Effort, but we are seeing encouraging signs and real progress.
'In every meeting that I have with Member States, I raise the issue and in every meeting, I am met with a positive response,' she said.
The UN police adviser disclosed that, 'Bangladesh deployed its first all-female formed police unit (FPU) to Haiti in June while India first deployed an all-female police unit to Liberia in 2007 and continues to do so now for the fourth year in a row.'
According to her: 'The joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur received 136 female officers from Bangladesh, Gambia, Ghana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe'.
She also said that the mission was expecting another 19 female police officers from Pakistan later this year.
'In addition, Rwanda will be deploying 130 female police officers later this year. Overall, the number of women has increased in almost every mission where UN Police are deployed,' Orler, who led a delegation of more than 50 policewomen from 40 countries to the conference, stated.
The UN official also added that increasing the number of women was not just about tackling sexual and gender-based violence.
'More generally, the presence of female police officers provides trust and confidence in the police. Female police officers play an important role as security providers, mediators, investigators and trainers in reconstructing police services around the world,' she noted.
Orler further said that, 'female police officers have a major impact as role mod els for the populations whom they serve'.