Subject: LUSA: Police Force Celebrates First Anniversary

East Timor: Police Force Celebrates First Anniversary 27 Mar-19:29

East Timor's police force celebrated Tuesday its first anniversary at a Dili ceremony that included the swearing-in of Paulo Martins as its first superintendent.

The 450 East Timorese trained by the territory's police academy since its founding last year were present for the ceremony. A further 200 are soon to join the force, which is to count a future full strength of 3000 members.

UN civil police commissioner Costa e Sousa highlighted the professionalism of the year-old force, saying it had "earned the respect of the territory's population", daily "risking lives" for the good of East Timor.

Costa e Sousa added that the program's success had been recognized by UN headquarters in New York, which has decided to use the East Timorese model in future peace missions.

East Timor's chief UN transition administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, spoke to Lusa after the ceremony, praising the police force for its "pride" and "committed and professional" outlook.

The incoming police chief, Paulo Martins, told Lusa he was honored to enjoy the "trust" of the East Timorese people and the international community.

"It's not only a post and a rank, it's also a challenge", he said, recalling that the fledgling force still faced various logistical problems, among others.

Martins served in the Indonesian police during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, despite being a longstanding supporter of the resistance.


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