The National Police College: Professionalising Law Enforcement Agencies in Rwanda and Beyond

Police graduates in various academic disciplines take a group photo with senior Government officials, RNP and University of Rwanda leadership.

The National Police College (NPC) is one of the three training institutions of Rwanda National Police established in order to enable the fulfillment of the force’s core mission; to deliver high quality service, accountability and transparency, safeguard the rule of law and provide safe and crime-free environment for all.

In the context of the rapidly changing society as well as the changing policing dynamics, NPC was mandated to offer standard trainings by anticipating the current challenges/trends in policing and translating them into customized programmes.


To achieve this, NPC in partnership with other renowned institutions delivers specialized academic programmes at undergraduate and post-graduate levels as well as professional and specialized courses. Undergraduate programmes are in the areas of Computer Science and Information security, Forensic Science, Professional Police Studies (PPS) and Law.


PPS is a four-year degree programme meant to broaden students’ insights and equip them with working and decision making capacity through social science theories aligned to policing with a view to fostering reflective and analytical skills and knowledge to police practices.


Similarly, Forensic Science provides high level education in relation to application of scientific principles and methods to assist in criminal investigations. It fulfills the growing demand for expertise in investigations, enforcement and monitoring work that include, but not limited to, the application of new technologies to crime scene investigation, physical evidence collection, laboratory analysis of evidences and the presentation of scientific evidence in court of law.

With the rapid development of ICT and its subsequent use in daily life, the security of cyberspace becomes an imperative to law enforcement efficiency and effectiveness. It is in this context that the degree programme in Computer Science and Information Security has been introduced to provide officers with theoretical and practical skills in relation to cyber and other high-tech crimes thereby empowering them to respond to the sophisticating nature of modern day crime.

In addition, recognizing the need for law enforcement practitioners to have a deep understanding of crime and criminal justice in the real world, a degree programme in Law is delivered with a view to contextualizing legal study and its application to crimes.

"For a police officer to fulfill his or her duties, they must be guided by the will, training and professionalism, all which produce quality outcome...we can have numbers but we cannot compensate quality." 
His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.

At the post-graduate level, under the same partnership, a Master’s degree programme in Peace Studies and Conflicts Transformation is conducted at the College. This program instils into participants a critical understanding of global systems of peace and development, dimensions of conflicts, conflict resolution and peace building, economic policies, poverty and natural resources conflict, to mention but a few. In the same line and for the purpose of ensuring and sustaining quality and standards of training and education offered, NPC trainers are currently undergoing a PhD programme in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.

Professional and career courses offered aim at enhancing performance capabilities of officers as per their respective ranks and fields of work.  The College so far conducts Police Command and Staff courses at tactical, operational and strategic levels. Their curricula are designed to respond to the identified policing challenges in terms of command and control, operations, administration, force discipline, etc, and they are regularly reviewed to keep them at par with the law enforcement needs.

Furthermore, in response to the changing crime architecture, NPC runs Criminal Investigation courses at basic, advanced and specialized levels with a view to producing professional investigators equipped with knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable them to deal with traditional and emerging forms of criminality. The courses put much emphasis on crime detection, change of mindset to embrace the use new investigation techniques and advanced technology in evidence collection and handling of criminals.

To ensure that the graduated officers are equipped with required competencies, NPC adopted a training approach that is context-based and aligned to the practical realities of their function. This training approach builds officers’ capacity to address any encountered operational challenges in one’s field of work depending on variety of situations that may unfold.

Based on the international nature of law enforcement function, NPC opened its programmes not only to other domestic agencies whose specific mission is to ensure law and order but also to other countries mainly on the African continent.

As of now, Rwanda Correctional Service, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Private Security Companies and 20 African countries have consistently sent their officers to attend different courses at the College.  Due to these efforts of bringing together law enforcers from all corners of Africa coupled with the quality of training programmes offered, NPC has been earmarked as the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) Regional Centre of Excellence in police training and development.

Academic procession during 2018 graduation at NPC. (Courtesy photos)

In furtherance of its professionalization efforts, the College is in process of introducing two new postgraduate programmes namely; Master’s degree in Cybersecurity and Master’s degree in Police Administration.

The College is also reviewing the curricula for criminal investigation courses to meet the contemporary challenges of law enforcement. In addition to the above mentioned academic programmes, specialized short courses in the area of criminal investigations, forensic sciences and law enforcement in general are also being introduced.

The priority areas will include but not limited to DNA analysis, Crime scene investigation, corruption investigation, investigation of transnational organized crimes, toxicology, forensic awareness, investigation of traffic accidents, evidence collection and handling, and crime detection.

Confronting the future policing challenges will require continuous review and re-examining the training and development policy that matches with the dynamic policing landscape.

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