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07 March 2009

East Timor Police and UNMIT : Resumption of Policing Responsibilities by PNTL

Resumption of Policing Responsibilities by PNTL - Based on discussions between the Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT, agreement was reached on the approach that will be followed for the resumption of policing responsibilities. It will be a gradual and phased approach - district by district and unit by unit. in accordance with mutually agreed and clearly defined criteria.

These agreed criteria are:

(a) the ability of the PNTL to respond appropriately to the security environment in a given district;

(b) final certification of at least 80 per cent of eligible PNTL officers in a given district or unit before hand-over;

(c) the availability of initial operational logistical requirements; and

(d) institutional stability, which includes, inter alia, the ability to exercise command and control, to comply with Human Rights principles and operate with full community acceptance.

The readiness of the individual districts and units will be determined by a Joint Technical Team (JTT) comprising an equal number of members from UNMIT/UNPOL, Office of the Secretary of State for Security (SoSS) and PNTL. The JTT is supported by the Field Assessment Teams (FAT) with equal representation from the UNMIT/UNPOL, SoSS and PNTL who will jointly verify the readiness the districts/units based on indicators developed jointly by UNMIT and the Office of the Secretary of State for Security. The districts have conducted preliminary self-assessments in early February 2009. These will form the basis for full scale assessments by the Field Assessment Teams to assess the readiness of a district/unit prior to resumption.

Based on these full scale assessments the Government of Timor Leste and UNMIT will jointly decide in which districts the PNTL will resume primarily policing responsibilities and when. This process will be gradual and based on meeting_ the criteria, as mentioned above, by the PNTL in the district concerned. At this stage no district has been fully assessed, nor has there been a date set for the transition.

The resumption of policing responsibilities by the PNTL, is only the beginning and the subsequent monitoring and evaluation of the PNTL is critical as it identifies opportunities for further professional development with a focus on long term reform to sustain its role as a fair, transparent and democratic law enforcement agency.

Contact persons. UNPOL Donald Awounah, 731 9765, ext. 4682 PNTL Inspector Moises Amaral, Public Relation of PNTL, 7312433.

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