Master of Laws, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden


English, French, Swedish

In the 1990s, the number of United Nations peacekeeping operations increased substantially. Political upheavals, civil wars, attempted secessions and coup d’etats occurring around the world called for the United Nations to act to meet the demands of various conflicts and crises. Against this background, and as recognised in the Brahimi Report, the result of a study to address past United Nations peacekeeping weaknesses, the United Nations Police division was formally established in 2000 to support the increased use of police, separate from military personnel, in United Nations peacekeeping activities.

As the Police Adviser, I am the head of the Police Division, and over the past three years have watched its rapid expansion. In that time, the United Nations has almost tripled the number of police authorized for international deployment, from less than 6,000 to more than 17,500.

Police are increasingly recognised as providing something unique and separate from the military. Our presence is visible in sixteen peacekeeping missions around the world, where our aim is to build trust, evolving from being a police force to a police service. We work to enhance community policing and stronger crime fighting organisations in post-conflict nations, where law and order is critical to recovery. More and more, we are called upon to help reform national police services, protecting human rights, safety and security in the process.

As a young lawyer, I joined a management program in Sweden’s police service. The job provided an opportunity to work on a wide variety of issues - from prosecution to immigration - and I have always loved working in law enforcement. In 2008, after 22 years with Sweden’s police service, I left my post as a county police commissioner, and applied for the position of Deputy Police Advisor at the United Nations headquarters in New York. After two years in the role I was appointed Police Advisor by the Secretary-General.

Since joining the Organization in 2008, a lot of my energy has been focused on a global effort to increase the number of female officers in national and international police services. An optimal work environment contains both men and women, because we need the different approach that each gender brings to the challenge of policework. This is especially true in post-conflict areas, where female officers have access to a section of the community that men do not, namely, other women, who have suffered from violence during times of war. We hope that by 2014, 20 per cent of officers will be female, a big improvement on the 7 per cent that existed when we launched the effort in 2009. This increase has been particularly notable in Haiti and Liberia, where we have all-female police units operating in the missions. I am proud of this progress and the fact that the Secretary-General is personally committed to this goal.

Some people say that once you have been exposed to international work, it gets into your blood. I agree with that. Looking back on my career, I always wanted to be a leader; to support and direct people and see them grow. That’s what I’ve gotten from the United Nations. It’s been an extremely satisfying choice. I haven’t regretted a single minute of it.

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