Subject: Australia Police Say UN Colleagues Hamper In Hotspots

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Australia Police Say UN Colleagues Hamper In Hotspots

CANBERRA (AP)--Australian police sent to overseas hotspots are being increasingly hampered by their poorly trained U.N. colleagues, Australia's police chief said Wednesday.

The United Nations struggles to draw police with comparable skill levels from different nations around the world, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said.

"And we find ourselves increasingly trying to help those police who are sent to help," Keelty told reporters at the National Press Club, referring to fellow U.N. police officers.

Keelty used East Timor, also known by its Portuguese name Timor Leste, as an example of mismatching of police working under the U.N. banner.

Police from several countries helped train East Timor's police force after the nation became independent from Indonesia in 1999.

But the fledgling local force was overwhelmed by civil unrest in the capital Dili in May and several officers are being investigated for crimes, including murder.

"One of the downsides of the United Nations capacity-building models in Timor Leste was a multinational approach taken to training and development of...what was the world's newest police forces. Clearly that did not work," Keelty said.

"At least the training and development of the Policia National of Timor Leste will now be conducted on a bilateral basis using Australian police," he added, referring to rebuilding the national police force.

Australia was one of only a few countries that was developing its police force for international and well as domestic roles, he said.

Currently, 700 Australian police are deployed in U.N. peace keeping missions in East Timor, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Jordan and Cyprus. The figure was scheduled to rise to 1,200 by the end of 2008.

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