Timor-Leste police resume responsibility for country

Timor-Leste resumed policing authority of their country on Monday, following a hand over ceremony in Dili.

Officers patrol Lahane Market in Dili

The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) had been in charge of policing the country for the past five years following a period of instability. But, that ends now that the transfer of responsibility has gone to the Timorese National Police (PNTL).

Joyce De Pina reports.

The National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) is now officially in charge of all aspects of policing activities in the country, following the conclusion of the resumption process. But this does not mean the end of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) presence in the country.

Xanana Gusmao, the country’s Prime-Minister sees it as the beginning of a new chapter, with UNPOL in an advisory and mentoring role:

“If we take today as the end of an important and difficult mission of UNMIT, then tomorrow we will begin together a new stage.”

UNPOL will remain in Timor-Leste to support the PNTL until after the elections of 2012, when UNMIT is planning to withdraw.

The transfer of policing responsibilities started two years ago. Since then, there has been no increase in crime rates or public order disruptions.

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