205. It is KFOR's view that police should take
over functions which soldiers are still discharging and this is
a clear aim of UNSCR 1244. However, this transfer of responsibility
has not been possible because the international community has
conspicuously failed to provide the number of police necessary
to bring the UNMIK force to the strength of 4,718 requested by
the UN Secretary General in November 1999.
British Ministers have said that they agree with this assessment
Fewer than half this number were in post on 2 March 2000, as Table
2 demonstrates. These are the latest comprehensive figures available
to us, though the FCO told us on 16 May that 2898 police were
deployed in Kosovo as of 17 April 2000.
It is not just numbers of police who are required, but police
who can properly discharge the sensitive task of policing in Kosovo.
The diversity of cultures and backgrounds is obvious from the
list of 45 countries in Table 2. With the best will in the world,
some police sent to Kosovo have simply not been up to the task,
as we heard from a number of authoritative sources when we visited
Kosovo. This has meant that the numbers of effective police are
|NUMBER OF UNMIK POLICE AND KFOR BY COUNTRY
||NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS ON
2 MARCH 2000
|NUMBER OF KFOR TROOPS ON
9 MARCH 2000
|United Arab Emirates||
|EU sub total
|NATO sub total
|Bold Type indicates that country is member of EU
Italics indicates that country is member of NATO
Bold Italics indicates that country is member of EU and NATO
Sources: March Report of UN Secretary General; HC Deb 13 March 2000, Col 38W
206. While the United Kingdom's contribution
to KFOR and to policing has been extremely high in terms of quality
(and, of course, British troops were among the first to arrive
in Kosovo), in simple manpower terms we are not at present being
overgenerous. The two tables below (Tables 3 and 4) demonstrate
this by aggregating the figures for police and troops from Table
2 for NATO and EU countries, and relating them first to gross
national income, and secondly population. While these are crude
comparators, it is clear that there are no grounds for self-satisfaction.
|Personnel in Kosovo forces - ranked by country's GNI
||Personnel in Kosovo
| || ||1997 (b)
| || ||(US$bn)
|12||Czech Republic (a)
(a) GNI figure estimated from GDP data.
(b) Converted at market exchange rates.
Personnel: Table 2
GNI: OECD, National Accounts, 2000 vol 1 - data on disk
|Personnel in Kosovo forces ranked by country's population
||Personnel in Kosovo
Personnel: Table 2
Population: OECD, National Accounts, 2000 vol 1 - data on disk
207. When Dr Jones Parry appeared before the
Committee in November 1999, he somewhat played down the policing
problem, speaking of the need for "a little bit of re-inforcement."
However, Jonathan Steele described the situation in January, when
only a third of the requisite force had arrived as "really
a disgrace" while Professor Roberts described the police
as "disappointingly under-supported by outside powers."
Dr Woodward told us that the greatest problem facing Kosovo was
"organised crime, gangs, disagreements among political factions
both within the Albanian community and between the Albanians and
the minorities," and that the only way to solve the problem
in the short term was "an infusion of police forces."
For Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, police were "very, very important."
Kosovo Albanian leaders whom we met, including Dr Rugova, recognised
the crucial importance of developing the police.
208. The United Kingdom had increased its police
commitment to Kosovo since the beginning of March. The Foreign
Secretary promised on 16 March that "within the next month
or two," there would be 180 British police officers working
in Kosovo120 on patrol with UNMIK, 40 working in the police
school and 20 providing the core of the organised crime unit.
According to a written answer given in early April, the contribution
has been further increased to 190.
The first 60 officers were drawn from the RUCa force with
more experience and skill in policing divided communities than
any other in the world. Wherever we went in Kosovo, we heard praise
for the RUC.
The police involved in training and in combatting organised crime
will also be officers of experience, with a very special contribution
to bring to Kosovo. We welcome the increase in police numbers
sent from the United Kingdom, and we recognise the very high quality
that the British police bring to Kosovo. We recommend that the
British contribution should now be further enhanced.
209. One particular problem in deploying British
police to Kosovo is that UNMIK officers are armed. This has meant
that only officers from armed police forces in the United Kingdom
have so far been recruited for patrol duties. The first 60 have
been from the RUC, and the next 60 from the Ministry of Defence
Police. We were told by senior police commanders in Kosovo that
British police who were not firearms trained could easily and
quickly be trained to the level necessary. The Foreign Secretary
was sceptical about this, telling us that he would "hesitate
to lobby [his] colleagues in the Home Office to send out people
who would be expected to use weapons there who had not been trained
in the streets here."
Nevertheless, we believe that the issue of the requisite level
of firearms skill is one which should be resolved at a professional
level. We recommend that the FCO arrange for an experienced
police firearms trainer (a) to visit Kosovo to discuss with the
UNMIK Police Commissioner the level of firearms skill necessary
to patrol in Kosovo and (b) to report to the FCO on the training
need which this would imply.
210. Of course, we understand that Chief Officers
in Great Britain are hard-pressed in police manpower terms, and
unlikely willingly to give up officers for service in Kosovo.
However, we were told by UNMIK police commanders that newly retired
British officers would be extremely welcome in Kosovo, where some
non-United Kingdom officers had been as old as 70. It might well
be attractive for newly retired officers with firearms skills
to have the challenge of a short period of service in Kosovo.
The Commissioner understandably believes that the principal asset
a foreign police officer can bring is the experience of policing
which gives him or her the confidence to defuse a difficult situation.
Older police officers are likely to be more successful at this.
We took this matter up with the Foreign Secretary, who described
the idea as "a very interesting one" and he promised
to reflect on it.
We recommend that the FCO urgently study with the Home Office
and the Scottish Executive the feasibility of deploying recently
retired firearms-trained officers in Kosovo.
211. Another issue is the period of engagement
which police officers must serve with UNMIK. At present a lengthy
12 month tour is required. This is longer than any normal military
engagement overseas, and is unlikely to be attractive to younger
officers. The Chief Constable of the RUC told us that "a
six month tour would be much more attractive to volunteers. If
you can win agreement for this, I think it would be more likely
that the commitment to UN missions could be maintained over prolonged
periods as is likely to be the desire in Kosovo."
The Foreign Secretary promised to "look again" at the
question of the period of engagement.
We recommend that the Government press for a reduction to six
months in the minimum period of engagement for UNMIK police officers.
212. We have already referred to the exemplary
contribution of the RUC to Kosovo. It is expected that RUC numbers
will decline substantially if peace continues in Northern Ireland.
As the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern
Ireland said, "we found virtually no dissent from the view
that, if the [Good Friday] Agreement holds and Northern Ireland
becomes a more peaceful society, police numbers should be substantially
We recommend that the FCO explore with the Northern Ireland
authorities the possibility of recruiting more RUC officers for
service in Kosovo.
213. UNMIK police are developing a local police
force, the Kosovo Police Service (KPS).
KPS cadets are initially trained at an OSCE-run police training
school, and then continually monitoredand mentoredby
UNMIK officers as they work the streets. Cadets must pass through
19 weeks of field training, six subsequent weeks of career rotation
and one week of examinations before they qualify for subsequent
phases of the KPS programme. A number of the cadets are former
police officers, expelled from the police after 1989. The March
report of the UN Secretary General described the KPS as "one
of the few multi-ethnic institutions operating in Kosovo."
It has goals of 15 per cent ethnic minority and 25 per cent female
participation. At the time of that report, there were 54 Kosovo
Serb cadets and 30 cadets from other minorities out of a total
of 582 cadets. Over 20 per cent were women. Three cadets have
been dismissed for involvement in criminal activity. OSCE has
a mandate to train 3,500 officers by July 2001.
We believe that UNMIK is to be congratulated on recruiting
a multi-ethnic local police force in Kosovo, and we recommend
that the British Government give full and generous assistance
to the equipping and training of the Kosovo Police Service.
214. Like the KPC, we hope that the KPS will
be strictly monitored by UNMIK so that it turns into a force which
retains the confidence of all the communities of Kosovo. Sir John
Goulden was somewhat pessimistic when he gave evidence in November
1999 and asked the rhetorical question "how do we train a
mixed force of Kosovans to become a legitimate police force when
there is not much of a tradition there at all, and how do we make
sure that the international community does not have to do that
job itself indefinitely?"
But it is not an exaggeration to say that, if the KPS does not
succeed, Kosovo will not succeed. We believe that the development
of the KPS should be an important priority for the international