UNMIT PRESS RELEASE National Police resume responsibility over the Maritime Unit 14 December 2009, Dili, Timor-Leste ? Today Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Security Sector Support and Rule of Law, Mr Takahisa Kawakami and Secretary of State for Security, Dr Francisco da Costa Guterres, presided over a ceremony marking the resumption of primary responsibility for the conduct of maritime police operations by the Maritime Unit of the Pol??cia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL).
PNTL's Maritime Unit is the sixth entity in which the PNTL has resumed primary policing responsibility since the resumption process started in May 2009, when primary policing responsibility was transferred to the PNTL in the District of Lautem. This process continued in the Districts of Oecussi in June, Manatuto in July, and was followed by the transfer of responsibility for the administration and management of the Police Training Centre in September. In December, the PNTL resumed responsibility in the Viqueque District.
The Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT are implementing the resumption process in a gradual manner ? district by disstrict, unit by unit. The decision for the PNTL to resume primary policing responsibility for the Maritime Unit was based on the result of assessments of the preparedness of PNTL. The assessments were conducted by joint teams comprising representatives of the Government and UNMIT, including PNTL and the United Nations Police (UNPol), using mutually agreed criteria.
UN Police will maintain their presence in areas where the PNTL have resumed responsibility, in order to support, advise, train and monitor the PNTL in their roles.
The Maritime Unit was originally established in 2001 and is responsible for coastal security, protection of the marine environment, the safeguarding of human life through search and rescue and prevention of criminality and illegal immigration at sea.