|Subject: KY: UN
authorities order police to seize weapons in E. Timor
U.N. authorities order police to seize weapons in E. Timor DILI, East Timor, Jan. 28 Kyodo
U.N. authorities have ordered civilian police to seize all weapons 'carried without justifiable reason' in an effort to curb rising lawlessness in East Timor, a spokesman for the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said Friday.
Manoel de Almeida said U.N. police, who carry batons, have increased mobile and foot patrols in such 'crime-prone' areas as public supermarkets in an effort to increase police visibility in Dili, the capital of East Timor.
De Almeida said seven police officers are now patrolling the market area as well as Bairo Pite and Becaro, two areas in Dili where clashes between warring groups broke out last week.
The increased police presence reflects a rise in the number of market patrols by the Australian-led international force in East- Timor, he said.
According to de Almeida, there are now 387 police deployed in East Timor and more are expected to arrive by Feb. 15, bringing the total number of police in the territory to 630.
'A process has already started to train and equip 50 civilian police officers to deal with public disorder. These police officers will be issued with riot gear,' de Almeida said.
De Almeida also announced plans to establish a rapid response unit within the U.N. police force.
UNTAET plans to train some 240 police officers by March to work under the unit. 'Initially more than 20 of them (will be equipped) with sidearms and short rifles,' he said.
The United Nations also wants to train 1,630 officers for the regular police force. But de Almeida said UNTAET still needs pledges from countries that will contribute civilian police.
Apart from maintaining law and order, the civilian police are engaged in recruiting a new 3,000-strong Timorese police force, which will be composed of East Timorese.
About 20,000 application forms will be distributed for the Timorese police force, de Almeida said.
'The applicants will compete for some 3,000 positions in the future (police) force,' he said, adding that those qualified will undergo a four-month intensive training course and eight months of on-the-job training.
'The course will be conducted at the East Timor Police Academy in Komoro, which is now being refurbished and prepared,' he said. Forty police students will make up the first batch of trainees.
The candidates will be trained in basic criminal law, police techniques, traffic rules, investigation techniques, driving skills and human-rights principles, he said.
'The graduates of the police academy will then join the U.N. civilian police on the ground and gradually replace them by March,' de Almeida said.
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