Strengthening the Relationship between the Police and the Community
On 22 March 2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the community of Al Rahma in the East Nile locality and its police officers inaugurated their community policing aid post. The construction and equipment of the post is part of the Community Policing Project run by the Governance and Rule of Law Unit of the UNDP. The objective of the project is to ensure that the police are regarded as an institution with responsibilities and accountable to the general public, and not merely a law enforcement agency.
Indeed, the Sudan Police Force, established in 1903, is a highly centralized institution, whose main duty is to maintain law and order. Post-independence Police reform processes have been based on the same traditional role of the police, that is: a monopoly over crime control and citizen’s safety without the involvement of the community in policing affairs. One of the challenges to reform the police is how to establish a stronger relationship between the police and the community.
A Popular Police Administration was established in 1992 with a view to harnessing the role of the community in policing. Yet, the strong military orientation of the police and the perception in the minds of the community that there is little difference between the military and the police, when dealing with the community, still persists. Against this background, construction and equipment of the community policing aid post facilitates building of mutual trust, respect and partnership between the public and the police.
The community policing aid post in Al Rahma neighborhood is centrally located just off the main square, so as to be readily accessible to all members of the community and has been adequately equipped. Men, women and children participated in the opening ceremony, which saw the traditional ribbon cutting and a tour of the aid post, followed by enthusiastic speeches by the representatives of the community and the UNDP.
Surayo Buzurukova, Head of the Governance and Rule of Law Unit addressed the inauguration ceremony where she underscored the significance of this collaboration between UNDP and Police by saying “The project is a successful example of UNDP working together with the Police of the Government of Sudan and the community of Al Rahma to increase trust between the police and the community so as to enhance universal access to justice especially to poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups through a range of projects. Community policing initiatives focus on joint activities for community organizations and the police department to improve communication and facilitate participation in crime prevention, detection, and most importantly reaching our vulnerable youth.”
The Community Policing project is funded thanks to generous contributions from DFID and the Netherlands.