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International secondments

International secondments

The UK supports international efforts to prevent violent conflict, to resolve existing conflicts, and to build peace in post-conflict situations. In support of this the FCO seconds civilian experts and police (serving and retired officers) to a number of international missions run by the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

These missions include:  

European Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL Afghanistan)

EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia)

EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq, (EU JUSTLEX)

European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX Kosovo)

European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUPM)

Several OSCE missions in the Balkans and Caucasus.

What do secondees do?


Policing roles in international missions fall into five main categories:

  • executive policing: the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is the only mission where executive policing is carried out
  • training: eg. general police duties, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, firearms and human rights
  • monitoring and reporting: eg. security and protection, control room operators and finance
  • mentoring and advising: eg. organised crime, criminal intelligence, community policing
  • programme and project management: eg. strategic intelligence, strategic police training.

Civilian Roles fall into the following categories:

  • border monitoring
  • running field offices and missions
  • human rights
  • rule of law
  • media
  • programme management
  • police training
  • political affairs
  • good governance
  • promoting democracy.

Benefits of working in an international mission


Develop skills and competencies


Secondees are able to develop their skills in a range of areas including mentoring and training. Often they get the chance to take on greater responsibility and, in the case of police officers, to work at a higher rank. Constables deployed to EU missions have advised senior police officials.   Secondees get the chance to demonstrate their initiative and to shape their jobs.

Diversity and cultural awareness

All missions offer secondees the chance to broaden their cultural awareness both through working alongside colleagues from other countries and because they are working overseas.  Police officers deployed to Iraq or Jordan experience life in a Muslim society at first hand, learning about culture, customs and ways of life.

Tackling crime at source


Stopping crime at source, particularly organised crime is a tangible benefit to UK police officers.  They can increase their awareness and make contacts which might be of use on their return.  

Benefits of going on an overseas mission

Find out about the many benefits of working for the police overseas.

Police roles

Find out about the different police opportunities overseas and the recruitment process.

Civilian Secondments

Find out about the process of being recruited to work as a specialist civilian overseas.

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