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PacNet #51 – The Timor-Leste National Police: Old and New Problems

During the 2006 political crisis in Timor-Leste, the Timorese National Police (PNTL) performed the worst among the country’s security forces. With its men fleeing their post with weapons and uniforms, the entire force of 3,000 nearly collapsed. In the capital city of Dili, only 10 of a 400-man force reported for duty at police headquarters. Even so- called elite units such as the UIR (rapid reaction unit) and the URP (jungle police) deserted their posts. More than two years after the crisis and hundreds of UN advisors and countless reports later, the situation seems to have improved very little.