Geoff Hazel - CIVPOL

Running time
3 min 1 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Mozambique, it's like any of the UN missions, you have to apply. I'd already done one in Cyprus where I learnt a lot of things. Mozambique came up, Bob Bradley took the first contingent to Mozambique. Now, Bob had been in Cambodia with a team, and they worked together as part of it. Now, I missed Cambodia because I was in Cyprus. But he looked at what he wanted for Mozambique, and he used his Cambodian experience. They were all going to work together. And they literally had to build their own accommodation and their own police station when they were there. So, he put together a team of individuals with a variety of skills that would work together as a totality.

Mozambique was the first time the UN changed the whole system. Contingents did not work together. They were split up from one end of the country to the other end. Well, in their case, pairs. Now, if you put Mozambique into Australia, the southernmost point's roughly Brisbane. The northernmost point is just on the border with New Guinea. And internal communications were virtually non-existent. There was a lot of troubles. And we were getting messages back and they were all complaining about the Muslim mafia, as I called them.

Now, when I got over there and later on when I got to tell them, we broke a few barriers down. The Muslims were telling us about the Christian mafia that existed before the Muslim mafia came in. This was all CIVPOL. It was the first time. What they did, the UN wanted to go, well, A, because the police are so different from different nations. Their qualifications are completely different to each other. I mean, even a simple one, the Swedes. Included in the Swedish police is the people who sit at the borders to do your immigration checks.

They're part of Swedish police. So, they could be on a UN mission as a police officer and never done a day's policing in their life. India, a lot of areas in India. sergeant and down, they do traffic control and security. No investigations. Then you've got the next level up, which are the inspectors which they call sub-officers. They do the police work. And then, above them are the group that are trained to be the officers in charge, but never actually do any police work. So, you've got a wide variety of skills that can be brought to the situation. So, the UN decided to spread the skills, rather than have one area get a lot of good policing and another area get absolutely none. And it was something we'd never experienced before. And there was a lot of culture clashes.

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