Letter: Policing Kosovo

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Sir: Steve Crawshaw's article "Serb refugees join ranks of dispossessed" (19 July) paints a grim picture of the security vacuum in Kosovo. Serbs and Roma are leaving in droves because they do not have confidence in Nato's ability to perform basic policing functions.

Despite sterling efforts, K-For has neither the manpower nor the training to engage in civil policing throughout the province. What Kosovo and other post-conflict societies need is non-military civilian intervention units which can be deployed as swiftly as their military counterparts in the Rapid Reaction Forces.

Speed is of the essence in maintaining the rule of law and setting up new administrative and judicial bodies. Preferably developed by the EU or the Oranisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and supported by a secretariat for training and development, these units would be able to deploy about 15,000 people as soon as conflicts ended. Members would have training and expertise in policing, interim administration, election supervision, human rights and humanitarian aid.

Britain recently announced that it would make available aircraft, engineers, troops and civilian police for rapid deployment on UN peace-keeping missions. The UK could lead the way in international efforts to create civilian intervention units on a similar stand-by basis.



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