Detective Superintendent Anu Aro, EUCAP Somalia’s Head of Police Unit, knows how challenging police work can be in many countries. Anu has over 29 years’ experience in policing with the Finnish Police Service, with 13 of those years at supervisor level. She has also served in international missions, working in police advisor roles with GIZ, a German NGO, and also with the EU, in Afghanistan, and following that with the UN in Liberia.
In current her role as Senior Police Advisor and head of Police Unit, she leads a team of police experts from multiple EU countries, who are supporting the Somali Police Force (SPF) on police development. She says professional development, awareness of the law, and good public outreach, are key, so that police can be trusted and respected by communities. She also highlights that recruiting more women is vital to build trust and improve community partnerships.
“It is important to have both male and female police officers working together side by side and respecting each other as professionals. It increases effectiveness and professionalism in policing and can also improve approaches to addressing sexual and gender-based violence,” she says.
However, Anu highlights that recruiting more women into policing can be difficult.
“Female police officers are as good as their male colleagues in all areas. I think when more women become aware that there are different options or pathways in policing, they will begin to see it as a career option. When there are more women police officers, that serves as an example for the public in many other areas,” she said.
In line with the mission’s mandate, her unit will continue to support the Federal Darwish unit of the SPF as well as the SPF departments of Criminal Investigation, Explosive Ordnance and INTERPOL National Central Bureau, working in partnership with the Somali police on gender and women’s empowerment across all areas.