Women in the rule of law

Women leaders in the field of international police cooperation – Meet Ylva Carlsson

29 July 2021

For the past twenty months, the EULEX International Police Cooperation Unit enjoyed the collegiality and professionalism of Ylva Carlsson, who worked as a desk officer tasked with facilitating the exchange of information between EUROPOL and the Kosovo Police. Ylva explains that it is an important job especially in urgent cases, when the exchange of information has to happen quickly and efficiently. “It definitely keeps you on your toes. It is very interesting and you feel like you are able to contribute more than during the rest of the days,” says Ylva 

A graduate of the Swedish Police Academy, Ylva is a police officer with 30 years of experience. During these 30 years of hard work, successes and challenges, not once did Ylva doubt her choice of career: “I never regretted choosing this line of work. There are so many interesting positions in this field one can chose from. So, if after a while you feel that what you have chosen is not suited to you, then you can chose a new career within the police force. If you work hard and you are dedicated, everything is possible.” 

Like in every job, there is always a period of time we often single out as more unique than the rest. For Ylva it is the time when she worked in the Netherlands: “What I keep quite close to my heart, is when I was a bilateral liaison officer for four years in the Netherlands. We have this cooperation with the Nordic countries and it was really interesting and fulfilling to be able to actually help the bilateral relations and investigation processes that were being conducted in all Nordic countries and the Netherlands. Crimes know no borders, so it is important to have a strong network in order to be able to deal with such issues on the spot and also in the long-term.”

Being in managerial positions for so long, Ylva explains how much she enjoys to see her teams grow: “One of the most important things a manager can do is to create a safe environment for the team so that they perform well and have the possibility to make an impact. Also, building trust among team members is very important, so that they are aware that they can offer their expertise and leadership in important decision-making processes.”

Before joining EULEX, Ylva was working as Head of a Section at the Intelligence Division in Police Region Väst in Sweden. This is also the position she holds now that she returned to Sweden, as we did this interview the very last day Ylva was in Kosovo.

Ylva is no stranger to Kosovo. Her first time here was back in 2005 when she joined the United Nations Mission in Kosovo - UNMIK at the Directorate of Organized Crime. “When I came back to Kosovo after such a long time, I almost didn’t recognize it. There were so many changes, not only in terms of construction but also institutionally. I saw positive developments and a more independent functioning of the institutions,” notices Ylva.

By the time this interview will be published, Ylva will already be settled back home at her old job in Sweden and as with every change in life there are mixed feelings:  excitement for what is coming and a bit of blues for leaving a chapter of her life in Kosovo behind. “I feel like it’s time to go home, but I will also miss my friends here and the many interesting people I met in the meantime. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic I had to cancel many of my plans in Kosovo. But, I’m quite a sociable person and despite the limitations we all had, I did my best to spend time with good friends.”

A passionate cook, Ylva used these months in Kosovo, to cook dinners for small groups of friends and colleagues in line with social distancing measures. In addition to cooking, Ylva is also a passionate golf player and world traveler. Throughout the years, she has traveled quite a lot and places like South Africa and the Caribbean remain close to her heart. Once travel restrictions ease, Los Angeles is in Ylva’s bucket list. 

International career opportunities still remain of interest to Ylva and she doesn’t exclude the possibility of traveling and moving for work in the future. 

In this challenging line of work, women professionals like Ylva serve as role models for all women who aspire and wish to have successful careers in the diverse and interesting fields that policing offers. 

Ylva, we already miss you!