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EUPOL Copps unfolds its objectives (Kenneth Deane)

Kenneth Deane, head of the EUPOL COPPS mission. At his side, L. Irziquat of the Palestinian police (Credit: Council of the EU)

(BRUSSELS2) In itself, the EUPOL Copps mission — setting up new structures for the police, training police officers in certain investigative or law enforcement control techniques — is classic. But the place where it takes place – the Palestinian territories – is sensitive terrain. For this, a look is needed at this EU training mission for the Palestinian police which is – as its head, the British (from Northern Ireland) Kenneth Deane, explains, one of the longest in the Common Security and Defense Policy ».

One of the longest CSDP missions

The mission was, in fact, launched in January 2006, at a key moment when a peace agreement still seemed possible. The European ambition was to give Palestine the assets to establish itself as a State, in accordance with the international desire to establish two States, cohabiting peacefully. Today it is composed of “70 international experts from 19 countries, all experts in their field (judicial police, scientific police, etc.). With two main objectives: development of police institutions” and “introduce a professional and impartial judicial system in Palestine. It is necessary that the " police serve the population in a fair, impartial and professional manner explains K. Deane, that individuals can “ face a legal system and then in the next steps, prosecution and the penitentiary field ».

Working together to have more credibility

EUPOL Copps has also enabled the training of " 100 to 125 judges ". The mission has also developed a “Program” pillar, the purpose of which is to advise local actors on the implementation of “ capacity building actionss” through strategic plans. The least of the challenges, however, is to be able to make the different forces work together. " This is the problem - recognizes K. Deane. “There are seven security forces. (But) they realize that they have to work together to have more credibility”. The mission is also developing an action on prisons, or rather establishments under police control. It is necessary " bring them up to international standards ».

Police officers engaged

Day after day, the Palestinian police are taking their place, in an increasingly professional manner. At least that is the feeling of the team surrounding Kenneth Deane, the mission leader. An indicator among others. “ For several months, the police officers could not be paid. And yet, with a few exceptions, they all remained in office and continued their work. I am not sure that in all our countries this would have been the case » testifies a member of the EUPOL Copps team.

A “reliable” police force

For Major L. Irziquat, Palestinian Police. “(Even though) it was ruined by the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian police today are a reliable and excellent police force with regard to the criteria of the international community. (…) She was able to develop concepts of surveillance and accountability of forces. The creation of a human rights department within the police, whose role is to monitor the work of the police, brings credibility domestic and international.

Gaza, THE sensitive point

Gaza remains the delicate subject. " Our mandate focuses on the West Bank explains K. Deane. The representative of the Palestinian police explained that " The law must apply everywhere in Palestine Adding that " we are ready to work in Gaza in the event of reconciliation and if we are asked to go there ". For the moment " we work in the West Bank and the second plan would be to implement in Gaza ».

EUPOL Copps in a few words…

  • Headquarters: Ramallah
  • Launch: January 1, 2006
  • Head of Mission: Kenneth Deane
  • Squad: 111 (70 international and 41 local)
  • Budget: 9,3 million euros per year (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013)
  • Contributing States: 17 EU Member States + Canada + Norway

(Thomas LeBihan)

Read also: A Northern Irishman at the head of the Eupol Copps mission

Thomas LeBihan

Student in "Public Affairs European Governance course" at Paris I. Intern at B2. Follows the news of the European Parliament.