United Nations Police

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The United Nations Police is a division within the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI). It organises police officers representing various countries throughout the world, brought together to assist in the training, organization, stabilization of a destabilized region, or creation of indigenous police forces primarily in war-torn countries. It should not be confused with Interpol, which is a different organization.

Its beginnings, in the form in which it presently exists, can be traced back to the late 1980s, when police officers serving with the force served mostly unarmed and in a monitoring or advising role. By the mid-1990s, with the advent of the problems in Haiti and Bosnia, the force began expanding into a more evolved and proactive role, and usually officers are armed with either a side arm or, on occasion, both a pistol and a rifle, depending on the dangers of the area in which they are assigned. Each war-torn country receiving International Police is referred to officially as a "mission", and each "mission" receives a specific title, such as the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, or the United Nations Transitional Authority for East Timor.

Rarely are officers from the same country allowed to serve in the same unit in the roles of Commander and Deputy Commander, which ensures national balance. Although contributing countries often deploy officers who in their own country are of high rank, while serving with the International Police their respective ranks are not taken into regard, but rather their professional abilities and experience. The organization has its own Internal Affairs section for each mission assignment, with rules banning any investigator from overseeing an investigation involving a member from his or her own country contingent.

Usually falling under the direction of the United Nations, or more recently the Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the International Police have served in various places of interest: most notably, Haiti, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, East Timor, Liberia, Cyprus, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan. Each country contributing officers has its own Contingent Command structure, but falls operationally under either the United Nations or the Coalition Forces.