Police (RNP) continued its vibrant pace to further ensure safety of people living in Rwanda and their property and to make it a safer place that facilitates development and investment in the transformation process.
To achieve this, it required realizing set targets and strengthening the concept of community policing locally and working with local partners, on one hand, and enhancing cooperation with regional and international police force on the other hand, to effectively deal with the ever changing and emerging security threats which are transnational in nature, largely facilitated by porous borders.
All these are summarized under the key priority areas which include capacity building, crime prevention and road safety campaigns, international cooperation, anti-corruption mechanisms; e-policing, and infrastructure development.
Locally, like other years, RNP continued to build its varied policing capacities and capabilities in training and acquiring more modern and hi-tech policing equipment to support varied policing disciplines to further make Rwanda safer for everyone.
Community Policing and Crime Prevention
Countrywide awareness campaigns against crimes against high impact crimes like drug abuse, gender based violence and child abuse, human trafficking and road safety were conducted to further engage local communities to be active in responding to security challenges they face in their localities.
These anti-crime awareness campaigns that enhance the concept of community were conducted in schools and refugee camps as well.
Thus, the second congress for Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP), whose membership increased from 14, 000 to over 55, 000, was conducted and members trained in various community policing and crime detection, fighting and prevention disciplines, to further improve the safety and security, and the social wellbeing of people living in Rwanda and their property.
Top government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, students and different dignitaries and Rwandans joined RNP to mark its 16th anniversary. The 2016 week-long countrywide exercise was climaxed by the ‘Police Day – June 16 – when the force was formed in the year 2000.
The 2016 ‘Police Day’ was held under the theme: “Stand up for Child Protection.” It coincided with marking of the African Child Day - - a day that is set aside to celebrate the African child particularly in memory of the children who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa for protesting against the injustices of the apartheid era in 1976.
The pre-anniversary activities concentrated on protection of children in all spheres, including drug abuse, gender based violence, human trafficking and road safety.
The 6th edition of the security and hygiene campaign, a joint annual exercise with the City of Kigali, was in the same significant in improving safety and cleanliness in the city.
Capacity building mainly reels on police professionalism especially through training and acquisition of modern and hi-tech policing equipment.
Thus, over 6000 police officers including about 100 from 12 other countries, acquired skills in varied policing disciplines from the three RNP schools (National Police College, Police Training School-Gishari and Counter-Terrorism Training Centre [CTTC]). The conducted courses included the 8th cadet course of 429 officer including 14 allied students from friendly institutions (Uganda, South Sudan and Namibia), basic police course-intake 12; ToT course in VIP protection, traffic and road safety, and public order management; and basic investigative course.
Others courses included two intakes of CID Advanced Courses, two CID Basic courses, supervisory course; Police Station Commanders, Basic Special Force, Guard and Protection, counter-terrorism, airport security; forensic investigations course, undergraduate in law, forensic and Professional Police Studies (PPS).
Conducted regional academic and professional courses include the 3rd intake of the Senior Command and Staff Course, maintenance and repair of small arms marking machine; and the African Union Police Pre-deployment course (AUPOC).
The schools are meant not only to improve the skills of police officers but also partners in policing. Thus, about 1250 partners from district administrative organ (DASSO), security supervisors for the federation of motorcyclists, and Train the Trainers (TTT) for private security company supervisors’ course were also conducted at PTS.
Police Women Convention
The seventh annual RNP Women Convention that convened in February in Kigali with close to 700 female police officers discussed on empowerment and skills development to promote gender equality in policing.
The convention a good forum for sharing ideas and experiences between female police officers drawn from different areas of operation countrywide, and also get guidance and encouragement from the RNP leadership and partners.
Road Safety Status in 2016
Road traffic accidents decreased by 37 percent; this was partly due to various measures put in place.
The number of vehicles imported in Rwanda increases by the day as well as huge increase in the number of Rwandans registering for Driving License exams. Figures from Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) indicate that in the last five years, 85,223 automobiles have been imported; an average 1420 automobiles imported every month. A total of 132,850 Rwandans also registered and sat for driver’s license tests in 2016 alone.
Over 700 public service vehicles have been fitted with speed governors while over 102, 000 went through road worthiness inspections. The Mobile Test Lane track made 15 rounds across the country and offered services to over 5600 vehicles while two lanes were added at the Motor-vehicle mechanical inspection centre (MIC) at Remera.
As part of the department expansion and enforcing road safety, more 40 new patrol cars, 86 motorcycles and 86 speed gun cameras were added on roads.
The acquisition of hi-tech Hand Held Terminal (HHT) and Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) was also in line with the RNP e-policing and fighting corruption policies and service delivery in particular.
The HHT device replaces the usual paper traffic fine receipt, motor-vehicle mechanical inspection queues and process of acquiring a driver’s license.
With the HHT, traffic officers will no longer have to confiscate traffic related documents of the offender. The device scans the driver’s license and the offender receives an instant message indicating the offence and the fine, which can be cleared either through telecom banking systems or VISA payment.
Owners can also book online to have their automobiles’ mechanical status checked, and will now be receiving instant messages on where, when and the time the vehicle will be inspected.
The ANPR which, by just pointing a camera on the number plates, can recognize if the vehicle is on the stop or wanted list for certain offences, and can automatically check the validity of the vehicle’s mechanical inspection certificate, insurance, the owner and its crash or traffic offences’ records.
Cooperation both locally and cross-border, is another inevitable factor that RNP values in policing. Locally, the force signed partnership agreements with Tigo-Rwanda, a mobile telecom company to jointly detect, fight and prevention crimes, including corruption; signed MoU with prosecution and medical council to work together in various fields of investigations to ensure fair justice; and a tripartite MoU with Society for Family Health (SFH) and the Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCPO) that strengthens awareness in security and hygiene.
The annual police-media interaction session also paved-way for further partnership in information exchange and ensuring security of Rwandans.
The three-day 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) was held in September with delegates taking a tough stance to deepen cooperation to effectively counter cross-border crime.
The 16th Council of Ministers issued a 12-resolution communiqué that rotated mainly around strengthening cooperation between police forces in addressing security related challenges.
Africa Convention of Women in Security Organs
Together with our sister security institutions, we successfully hosted the first ever ‘Africa Convention of Women in Security Organs’ of over 250 African women from security agencies (police, army and prison services ) that redrew strategies of their role in combating crimes especially violence against women and girls, and child abuse.
The convention presided over by the Prime Minister, Right Hon. Anastase Murekezi, was organised under the theme: “Women’s impact in security: rethinking strategy” came as a realisation of the 5th KICD General Assembly held in Algiers-Algeria in March this 2016.
Launch of Isange Book
One of the resolutions of KICD is the adoption of Isange One Stop Centre as the holistic approach against sexual and gender based violence. In implementing the services of Regional Center of Excellence, particularly on data collection, Isange One Stop Centre book titled; “Rwanda’s Holistic Approach to Fighting Gender Based Violence and Child abuse: The Isange One Stop Centre Model” was launched by the Prime Minister.
The book documents the Isange model and involved services. It provides a brief social context that necessitated a number of interventions and how the lessons learned helped to inform a holistic response mechanism. It details how different entities contributed diverse capacities and capabilities that ensure holistic care for victims of GBV and Child Abuse.
Through such cooperation, we continued to track and arrest genocide fugitives in other countries, and were deported to Rwanda to face trial while six vehicles that had been stolen in neighboring countries were intercepted in Rwanda, and returned to rightful owners.
The incident-free international events like the AU Summit, African Nations Championship (CHAN) and Tour du Rwanda, among others, are all clear manifestation of the role Rwandans continues to play to ensure and preserve safety and security the country enjoys.
About 1300 RNP officers also trained in peacekeeping while over 700 undergone UN peacekeeping refresher courses.
About 1000 of them were deployed including 820 under Formed Police Unit (FPU) who replaced the same number in Central African Republic (MINUSCA), South Sudan under UNMISS and Haiti under MINUSTAH. Others were deployed as Individual Police Officers (IPOs). A total of 171 other IPOs with 114 of them females also returned home after successfully representing their country and completing their mandate.
Welfare and Infrastructure Development
Building a professional force also means modern infrastructures that are in line with the country’s development agenda, under the guidance and support of the Head of State. The inauguration of the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru by His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, who also addressed the ‘Police High Council’ and challenged the officers to aim for “quality.”
The regional headquarters for the Eastern, Northern and the Southern regions were also constructed.
We can’t also fail to mention the big role of the public in building the infrastructure of the police in their communities. Currently, almost each of the 416 sectors across the country have police station, most of them constructed by the people themselves.
The construction and inauguration of ‘Regional Centre of Excellence’, a coordination facility for African security organs in responding to Gender Based Violence and child abuse; and the ground breaking for the construction of a regional cybercrime centre of excellence at the RNP GHQs that will be connected to the Interpol cyber centres in Lyon (France) and the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, are all results of cross-border cooperation.
The RNP fight against graft is in line with the force’s motto of ‘Service, Protection and Integrity’ and implementation of the national policy of zero tolerance. The fight against corruption, therefore, was part of various countrywide awareness campaigns, investigations and arrest of culprits.
The conference on fighting corruption convened in December at the RNP General Headquarters, bringing together other partners including Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), Office of Ombudsman, National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA), Rwanda Revenue Authority and Transparency International-Rwanda…was in that line as well.
Through partnership with citizens, about Rwf6.6 billion in evaded taxes were recovered while over 100 people were arrested in connection with misappropriation of about Rwf4.3 billion that were unaccountable for in social protection programmes.
Close to 200 people, majority drivers were also apprehended for attempting to bribe police officers while about 80 police officers were also implicated in graft-related malpractices. Corruption is a red-line for any police officer and anyone caught in such is dismissed from the course, and prosecuted as well.
Twenty-two police officers attached to the traffic department were dismissed from the force over corruption-related offences, four others were dismissed over gross misconduct; and about 40 people arrested with forged driver’s license.
RNP, TI-Rwanda Launch ‘Citizen Service Charter’
The ‘Citizen Service Charter’ developed in Partnership with Transparency International-Rwanda Chapter, was an additional step in service excellence and fighting corruption in particular as it illustrates the rights of those seeking police services, and obligations of officers to service seekers.
With the force being accountable to the public, the charter contributes to fighting offenses like corruption and bribery in particular. It will be rolled out in all police stations across the country as it spells out services offered by the police and gives members of the community a say through feedback.
Crimes Down by 12 Percent
The reduction of crimes in the year under review by 12 percent was, therefore, due to all the mentioned initiatives as embedded under the RNP ten key policing priorities.
The commendable role of the public, youth volunteers, anti-crime clubs, police ambassadors, partnership with public and private institutions… in community policing…and cross-border cooperation continued to thrive in the just ended and safer year, and further set the rhythm for 2017.
Under the auspice of Interpol following the recommendation made by the 17th General Assembly of the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs’ Corporation Organization (EAPCCO), we also managed to seize counterfeit and illicit products including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and alcoholic drinks valued at over Rwf140 million, during the operation codenamed ‘Fagia OPSON II’