Page last updated at 00:09 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 01:09 UK

East Timor set for police switch

By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Jakarta

Soldiers march in Dili on 20 May 2008
The handover will be a test for both the UN and East Timor

East Timor says it is set to take back responsibility for policing in the country.

The United Nations has overseen policing there since a security crisis three years ago led to the near-disintegration of the police force.

The handover, which has been postponed before, is due to begin in the eastern district of Lautem.

This moment has been a long time in the making, and the stabilisers are not coming off completely.

UN forces will hand over formal control of policing, but they will not actually leave.

They will stay in the district to monitor progress and lend support - support which is likely to be logistical.

East Timor's police do not have the resources to do the job without them.

In many places they lack basic equipment like vehicles and radios.

One observer even reported a district police station without a roof.

But nevertheless, this is a key test for East Timor - of whether its police force has evolved from the weak, politicised institution that imploded in 2006.

There have been changes, but there have also been financial scandals and violent confrontations.

And that is the second test being run here - a test of the UN and whether using a vast police contingent drawn from dozens of countries to train a national force actually works.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific