Shantnu Chandrawat, acting commander of UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) police in the Mitrovica region, discusses the progress of efforts to create an effective indigenous police force in Kosovo. Chandrawat, who had also served with an earlier UNMIK mission in Kosovo in 2001-2002, explains that during that first mission much of the crime he saw “related to the ethnic threat.” Now, those crimes have decreased, and crimes related to narcotics, smuggling, theft, and personal violence have increased. The police force itself has also changed substantially. At the time of Chandrawat’s first mission, UNMIK police carried out all policing duties; the local police forces were “under training and under probation.” Since that time, the KPS (Kosovo Police Service) has hired new officers of diverse ethnicities, integrated them effectively into the force, and implemented new training procedures involving both academy study and field unit rotations designed to develop specialized skills in such areas as field investigations, patrolling, forensics, and community policing. Chandrawat advises that these changes have been very productive, and that the KPS now functions effectively as an independent force with monitoring and oversight by UNMIK. He identifies the main challenges now facing the KPS as a lack of physical resources, especially vehicles; the need to improve transparency of the promotion system, and the need to increase salaries and improve salary payment practices.
At the time of the interview, Chandrawat was deputy regional commander of UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) police in Mitrovica, and Acting Regional Commander for that region. He joined the State Police in India in 1990, serving as a station commander and a subdivision police officer; he was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Police in 1997 and achieved another promotion thereafter. He participated in a United Nations mission in Kosovo in 2001-2002, serving as station commander of the Vitina station in Gjilani/Gnjilane region. In 2007, he returned to Kosovo for a second mission; for the two months prior to the interview, he had been deputy regional commander, Operations, for the Mitrovica region.