“Every soldier has the right to be questioned in their own language and according to the rules of their own country, and that is why the unit is multinational”, says platoon commander Rickard Pålsson. In the platoon there are 34 soldiers and a personal protection group including six soldiers. Every nation that is included in the Nordic Battle Group is represented, but unfortunately there are few women. As a woman it is easier to gain the trust of women and children and it is very important to get a more even mix between women and men in the platoon.
Different rules in different places
The rules of each country apply but there is nothing stopping the Nordic Battle Group to make their own agreements that steers the way they operate. A good example is the zero tolerance when it comes to alcohol and driving, which applies to all soldiers and wherever they may be working. When deployed you review the laws of the country you are in but also apply additional rules to follow. And it is not just the laws that you need to be aware of but also the culture of the country. “We need to build a mutual respect for one another, between the soldiers and the locals, and to do so we need to respect the way you do things in this particular area”, says Rickard.
Reduce traffic incidents
Ingunn Løvik, who is an officer in the Norwegian Armed Forces, feels that the exercise Joint Action has been successful and educational. There has been a great advantage to take part of an exercise that includes people from all the different countries involved in the Nordic Battle Group. “But it would have been useful to speak more English. Many of us speak Swedish which makes it easy to fall back into your comfort zone.”
To get the soldiers to understand the role of the military police is also something that they are working on. “It is a part of our job to minimize risk when it comes to traffic and to help prevent accidents”, says Sergeant Brennan, one of the Irishmen included in the platoon.
According to Sergeant Brennan the military police always work according to the words “We are always fair, firm and friendly”. He has extensive experience working internationally and has been deployed seven times. “The reason why I keep doing this is that I know that I help people in other countries to make their lives better”, he says.