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Suffolk woman policing in Kosovo

PUBLISHED: 18:09 07 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

SUFFOLK soldier Emma Morris is working at the forefront of international conflict – helping to restore order in Kosovo after the latest inter-ethnic troubles.

SUFFOLK soldier Emma Morris is working at the forefront of international conflict - helping to restore order in Kosovo after the latest inter-ethnic troubles.

A number of Serbs and Albanians were killed and many homes, churches and schools damaged or destroyed in the violence which broke out last week.

Corporal Morris, 22, from Woodbridge, serving with the Colchester-based 156 Provost Company of the Royal Military Police (RMP), is currently attached to a company of Gurkhas patrolling Kosovo Polje, near the capital Pristina.

She is the only RMP working in the town and was sent there as part of the Spearhead Lead Battalion, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, within 24 hours of the first violence reported.

Since the British troops arrived - part of a mission to reassure the population in Kosovo - there have been no further disturbances.

Cpl Morris, a former pupil at Farlingaye High School and whose father Steven lives in Ipswich, had been in Iraq last year but since her return had been carrying out general policing duties at the Colchester garrison.

She said: "Since Iraq I've been in Colchester on normal duties and training so this is something different and puts all of my training into practice.

"I've really enjoyed the few days out here with the Gurkhas, they have been looking after me really well and they have a great sense of humour - which is always good for morale."

Cpl Morris, who is living with the rest of the company at United Nations police headquarters, is liaising with local police and UN police to assist the British troops at crime scenes, especially homes that have been destroyed.

One of her duties has been to speak to Serb families returning to find their homes and businesses gone and establish facts for the investigators.

"It's pretty sad seeing these families returning to their destroyed homes, but by helping them feel a bit more secure we are making a difference out here," she said.

Hundreds of people were injured and 19 people died as the violence - which started in the ethnically-divided town of Mitrovica - spread across the province.

More than 3,000 Serbs had to flee their homes and churches, which were attacked by ethnic Albanian mobs. In Kosovo Polje, the Serb primary school and community hospice were destroyed.

The UN is has since unveiled a detailed plan aimed at bringing peace and stability to the area, setting out a series of steps which the local authorities must implement before Kosovo's future political status can be discussed.

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