7th September is International Day of Police CooperationWomen in policing for vibrant society


Ranjan K Baruah
Around the world, police officers and other police staff work together across societies to protect and serve communities. There is no doubt that they dedicate their lives to ensuring the safety and security of others by preventing crime, enforcing laws, responding to emergencies and supporting people in need.
We have been hearing about INTERPOL and more importantly we have seen in many movies about Interpol. Established in 1923, the Organization has expanded from a group of 20 national representatives to a membership comprising nearly every country in the world. The International Criminal Police Commission, as INTERPOL was originally called, was founded in 1923 at a police congress in Vienna, Austria that brought together representatives from 20 countries.
For the first time 7th September shall be observed as International Day of Police Cooperation .The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly during its 77th session in December 2022 , the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Policing, together with INTERPOL, highlights the vital role of women in policing. The focus for the day is women in policing which is important for peace in any society.
In a very simple way we need to understand why more women are needed in the police. If we look at our own state of Assam then we can find only one All Women Police Station though there are many women officers or constables in the police . Like Assam, we do not see many women police stations in other states of North East India.
We should be aware that women police officers play a crucial role across the full spectrum of policing, from crime prevention to criminal investigations, the protection of human rights, and safety and security. Evidence shows that their full, equal and meaningful participation in all policing functions is vital to achieving more effective, efficient and accountable services.
Based on available data today, the average global representation of women in domestic police services is approximately 18.2 per cent, having increased by two percent in the past five years. In 2021, across 52 countries with available data, the ratio of women within the police ranged from five to 46 percent, with most countries between 15 and 20 per cent. While the numbers are improving, renewed collective commitment and effort is needed by the international community to achieve meaningful growth. .
From the career perspectives it is a choice for many young women to become police officials or constables. I have met many girl students who dream to join police services and serve the nation. More women in police will attract younger girls to be in the services as the police are one of the most visible representatives of the state. As such, women’s visibility and participation, in national police services and United Nations policing, continues to inspire young girls.
On this special occasion of the first International Day of Police Cooperation, and in recognition of the vital importance of women in policing, the United Nations encourages continued reform in police services globally to create pathways for women to forge meaningful careers serving the community and the rule of law.
We should be aware that United Nations Police are deployed in most peacekeeping operations and are deployed as advisers in a number of United Nations Special Political Missions. The mandates of the missions define the functions of United Nations Police, which range from interim policing, provision of operational support to advisory functions. Indian Police officials have also served UN Police including women. Women currently lead United Nations Police components in five peacekeeping operations in Abyei, Cyprus, Kosovo, Mali and South Sudan.
António Guterres , the Secretary-General of the UN in his  message on the occasion has said that “on this inaugural International Day of Police Cooperation, I wish to commend law enforcement from around the world for their dedication to peace, security and justice.” “Women’s participation promotes access to justice for all, including for victims of gender-based violence, who may be more likely to seek help from women officers.
Jean-Pierre François Renaud Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations in his message on the occasion said that “when women lead, we all gain. But more can and must be done to achieve gender parity. In this regard, the Department of Peace Operations is continuing to engage with Police-Contributing Countries on the need for increased recruitment and deployment of women police to peacekeeping operations in all ranks and functions, particularly leadership positions. We need more women police officers on the beat as well as in the top seats.”
Effective policing is a must to keep our communities safe and maintain peace in the society. The theme of this year has been chosen because more inclusive policing guarantees better justice outcomes for everyone. More women in the police means better policing, better crime prevention, better investigations and improved human rights compliance. Let us salute and commend all police officially who sacrificed their lives for others.
On this day we can highlight the importance of women police officers and staff as their participation is vital to achieving efficient and accountable services. Gender responsive police patrols and mixed engagement teams are particularly important in ensuring the safety and security of women in conflict-affected or in disturbed areas. Let us encourage more girl students to join police forces and the police department may increase more women police stations or officials for a better future. Together we can build a better society when there is positive cooperation with police and the public.
(With direct inputs from UN publication and feedback may be send to [email protected])