The government has announced reforms to improve the performance of District Administration Security Support Organ (DASSO) officers. The reforms are listed in a special statute established by Prime Minister’s Order nº 005/03 of 04/05/2023 governing members of the District Administration Security Support Organ. ALSO READ: Senators to assess the performance of DASSO security force In 2014, the Ministry of Local Government created DASSO as a new force to replace the then 10-year-old Local Defence Forces. The new organ was mandated to support law enforcement in districts. The district organ’s personnel can arrest any person involved in the disruption of public order and hand them over to the Police. They are also tasked to inform district authorities or any other local administration entity of any suspicious security threat, among others. ALSO READ: Govt creates new force to replace local defence The Minister of Local Government, Jean Claude Musabyimana, told The New Times that the reforms are aimed to improve work and ensure effective service delivery, as well as the improved welfare of the district security organ’s personnel. “The reforms will address various issues by boosting efforts in preventing crimes and monitoring Irondo, or night patrols, in tackling crime in the communities,” he noted. Here are five key things to know about the district security organ’s reforms: Indefinite employment contract According to the Prime Minister’s Order, after completing basic training programmes for DASSO, each member signs an indefinite period employment contract with the District administration without being subject to a probation period. Under the statute, all of the organ’s officers will have equal salary except for their managers. Previously, they all used to be salaried based on three ranks – level 1, 2 and 3. They are subject to an annual performance appraisal, the basis for assessing the possibility of the right to horizontal promotion. A member of the district security organ may be promoted horizontally based on the previous three years’ performance appraisal; and if he or she has obtained at least the marks of category “B” within three previous successive years. The maximum age of retirement for a member is 55 years. However, a DASSO member may request an early retirement if he or she is 50 years old and has been in service for 15 years. Age for being admitted limited to 25 ALSO READ: Over 400 DASSO officers pass out For a person to be admitted in DASSO, he or she must be at least 18 years old and not more than 25 years old, be of Rwandan nationality, have good conduct and morals, not have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment equal to or exceeding six months in a judgment rendered in last instance, and hold at least a certificate of secondary education or its equivalent. They must be healthy and strong enough to work in the organ. Their health status must be backed by a medical certificate issued by an authorised medical doctor. People seeking jobs as officers in the district security support organ must also not have been dismissed or removed from public service, and have passed recruitment tests. Only a person with special expertise or knowledge may be recruited into the organ without considering the previous requirements. The Minister in charge of DASSO puts in place modalities for recruitment into the organ after consultation with the Rwanda National Police. The duration of their basic training is at least three months. Basic training for the organ’s members is planned, organized, and carried out by the Rwanda National Police in collaboration with the District Executive Committee. DASSO decentralized at cell level According to the Prime Minister’s Order, the organ’s officers will be decentralized at cell level depending on each district’s capacity. Previously, they were operating at district and sector level. Salaries Salaries of the organ’s members will be determined by the Minister in charge – the Minister of Local Government – after consultation with the Ministers of Finance and of Public Service. Other benefits are approved by the District Council or the Council of the City of Kigali based on the financial capacity of the District or the City of Kigali. Coordination While a DASSO member implements the instructions of the District authorities not related to security in general, coordination by the Rwanda National Police is not required. However, when a member of the district security support organ exercises a duty related to security in general, the activities of the member are coordinated and monitored by the Rwanda National Police. ALSO READ: Female DASSO officers tipped on GBV fight The organisational structure of the organ’s members at the District level comprises the coordinator of DASSO, the deputy coordinator in charge of information and security activities, the deputy coordinator in charge of administration and logistics, and the deputy coordinator in charge of discipline of the organ’s members. The organisational structure of members for other District administrative entities is the same as the organisational structure of the organ’s members at District level. In order to be admitted as a DASSO coordinator or a deputy coordinator, the candidate must have an accepted university degree or its equivalent; or a certificate of secondary education or its equivalent, and an experience of at least five years in national security matters. However, any other person with special skills or knowledge in security matters or a newly recruited DASSO member may be admitted as coordinator or deputy coordinator based on the service interest.