Peacekeeping in Cyprus
Western Australia Police Force of the Australian Contingent in Cyprus, part of the United National Peacekeeping Force.
Western Australia Police and WA Police Historical Society
From the 1960s, police officers from WA have played a distinguished role in various peacekeeping and counter-terrorist operations in other countries. A direct commitment was made for the United Nations Force in Cyprus from 1964, to keep the peace between the feuding Greek and Turkish sections of the island's population.
Because of resource difficulties, it was not possible for the Australian Commonwealth Police to take command of the various State contingents for several months. The WA Police sent three constables for the first contingent. The WA Police refused to carry firearms, because they believed it would be provocative and a barrier to forming cordial relations with the locals. The main problem in the first months was to act as go-betweens in getting Greek and Turkish Cypriot police to behave reasonably and stop using violence against civilians. The work was always dangerous, especially when staging roadblocks to check whether motor vehicles were conveying weapons.
From October 1964 the Commonwealth Police (later the Australian Federal Police) took command of the contingents; in all 41 WA officers served in Cyprus between that year and 1976.
Members of the Northern territory and NSW Police were also deployed to Cyprus with the United Nations as peacekeepers – a role which they continued until 1974. Later Police UN deployments include Cambodia, Yugoslavia and East Timor. Two NSW Police have been killed on UN duties.