Information technology critical to success of national police

Information technology critical to success of national police

IT staff fixing computers at PNTL headquarters. Photo: Tomas M. Rodrigues/PNTL

Strength, force, security, weapons: words that readily come to the minds of most people when asked to think about the police. Perhaps less common, but just as critical, is information:  information from the community, information to the community, information from commanders and between police officers and units. Without access to reliable and regular information, a police force cannot function. (Lee versaun Tetun iha ne'e)


  • While the PNTL was established in 2000, it was not until 2011 that it assumed full policing responsibility for Timor-Leste. This young institution has seen fourteen years of intermittent success and unexpected setbacks, most notably the 2006 crisis. UNDP and other development partners are helping establish the foundation needed to build a strong and credible police force.
  • The training video is the first collaborative project between two UNDP supported units within the PNTL and follows extensive training in information technology, graphics, photo and video.
  • The IT training video will be posted on the PNTL website and be used as a training tool for 3,500 police officers.

Information is facilitated greatly by modern communication technologies which make it easier than ever before for police officers to serve the community they are charged with protecting. But as with all institutions, effective communication starts from within.

During this year, the information technology (IT) unit of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) has taken small but significant steps to boost their internal communication systems and improve their delivery of services. A ticketing help desk system was developed allowing the police not only to streamline the request and support mechanisms, but to monitor calls and response time.

The ticketing system is one of three ways officers are encouraged to contact the IT unit, the others being by telephone and through email. This three-way system recognises the reality that many police stations across the country face regular cuts to power and internet supplies.

“We are a new country and adapting to technological innovations,” said Chief Inspector Deklino Marcal, Head of the IT unit. “It’s important that all PNTL officers have a good understanding of how technology can help them in their daily work. A challenge we face is how to socialise what we do to all officers, and we are working closely with the public relations unit to meet this challenge.”

The public relations unit of the PNTL, another area supported by UNDP, has developed an internal training video for police officers on how they can access IT services. “This is the first video we have made and are very proud of it and of the collaboration between the public relations and IT units,” said Chief Inspector Honorio A. Barreto, Chief of Public Relations. “The PNTL must be able to provide reliable information, not just to the public, but also between ourselves. This will help build confidence in the professionalism of our police force.”

UNDP’s role in both units has been to support the capacity of officers to fulfil their tasks, and the video is a good example of the potential of the public relations unit to support internal communications within the PNTL. The video was designed, scripted, filmed and edited by PNTL media officers who have over the course of this year received training in graphics, photo and video. The IT training video will be posted on the PNTL website and be used as a training tool for 3,500 police officers.

The video may be viewed at:

The UNDP Capacity Building Support to the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) project aims to strengthen the capacity of the national police to deliver quality policing services to the people of Timor-Leste. The project’s focus is to support the high command to transform their strategic and annual plans into tangible, measurable and financed activities. This is being done through the project team being co-located and working with counterparts on the following components: 1) strategic plan implementation, 2) information technology, 3) human resources, 4) asset and procurement management, 5) fleet management and 6) public relations.


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