For information only – not an official document

5 September 2023

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly:

Message for the International Day of Police Cooperation

7 September 2023

On this very first International Day of Police Cooperation, I want to highlight the need for effective policing to keep our communities safe, and the vital importance of robust police cooperation across borders to respond to transnational threats such as organized crime and terrorism.

I commend those police professionals around the world who work to prevent and respond to crime while respecting and upholding human rights for all, and to co-operate across borders for a safer world. I also want to pay tribute to those conducting policing and other law enforcement activities in the service of the United Nations.

And I especially want to salute all the women in national policing institutions, including those in command and other high-level positions, who work tirelessly and sometimes in very difficult and hostile environments.

The theme of this International Day, Women in Policing, 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. As I have consistently highlighted: to achieve justice, we need more women in justice.

Yet representation in police workforces around the world continues to lag behind. According to official data collected by UNODC, in 2021 the rate of women within the police ranged from 5 per cent to 46 per cent across 52 countries where data was available, with most countries' rates standing between 15 per cent and 20 per cent.

We can and must do better.

UNODC is committed to working with our partners to improve the recruitment and retention of women across all levels of policing, to support police reform for more effective, inclusive, and accountable policing, and to facilitate police cooperation across borders.

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