The Women Police Officers Network (WPON) in SEE Established

On 26th November 2010 in Sarajevo, the 1st Annual Meeting of the South East Europe Women Police Officers Network (WPON) was held, during which the WPON was officially launched. At the meeting, jointly organized by SEESAC, the South East Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) and the Administration of Federal Police in BiH representatives of the nine police services members of WPON elected the first Executive Committee and discussed and approved the annual work plan for 2011. A representative of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia was elected as the first Chair of WPON while the Deputy Chair is a representative of the Ministry of Interior of Croatia. The Executive Committee was completed with the election of a representative of the Ministry of Interior of the Republika Srpska (BiH) as Chair Elect.

Addressing the members of the WPON, Mr. Zlatko Miletic, Director of the the Administration of Federal Police in BiH, stated his unwavering support for improving the position of women in policing as a way to increasing police efficiency. He declared himself “very proud that the WPON is established and believe that it will make a significant contribution to increasing gender equality in the police services of SEE and making the police services more gender sensitive and hence more efficient.”

In his statement, H.E. Mr.Jan Braathu, Ambassador of Norway to Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressed the crucial role that women play in bringing the police service closer to the community that it serves and thus improving policing practice and better contributing to safer communities both at home and in the indivisible and unique security space that is Europe.

The establishment of WPON was initiated by SEPCA in 2008 and comes following a process of expert and technical meetings which took place throughout 2009 and 2010. The Network’s creation is supported by the recommendations from a regional study on the position of women in police services in SEE which was conducted in 2009. The study provides the framework for the work of the WPON in advancing gender equality in police services and promoting gender sensitive police work.

The WPON vision is that national women police personnel associations collaborate through WPON to improve the status of women in police services and ensure security for women in the region.

The WPON mission is to:

  • Provide a platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge across police services in the region on the status, needs and priorities of police women in the SEPCA region.
  •  Facilitate the advancement of the position of women in police services and gender sensitive policing practices in SEPCA police services.
  • Advocate for the implementation of gender equality and democratic principles in policing within SEPCA police services.

The establishment of the WPON is part of the project Support for Gender Mainstreaming in Policing Practices in South Eastern Europe implemented by UNDP/SEESAC in close cooperation with the South East Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA). The project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UNDP’s Gender Thematic Trust Fund. The project has benefited from the support of the OSCE Mission in Serbia, OSCE ODIHR, RCC, the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the International Association of Women Police (IAWP).

The Agenda of the meeting can be downloaded here.