By Ngamije Festo
Today, there is a growing expectation that the police must fulfill a broader police role than was traditionally the norm (e.g. reactive behavior) the idea of a more flexible policing style with the emphasis on unique community expectation is receiving growing support.
Modern policing calls for a transformation from the traditional reactive type of policing to a more pro-active system of policing with an aim of providing better services.
In an attempt to democratically and efficiently police the Rwandan society, the Rwandan National Police chose community policing approach (Community Based Policing) whereby local communities are involved in identifying security issues and consequently finding solutions for such issues.
It is in this context that Rwandan National Police is committed to closely work with the community. This process will improve police performance but also people who will then live more happily without anxiety as they will be in the control of the situation.
In this case, the police intend to work closely with the local community as the latter is the fundamental constitutional unit of the society next to the family.
During the launching of community policing week, the Minister of Local Government James Musoni asserted the need for residents to make use of community policing initiatives as a means of restoring security in communities.
“Every person should be involved in community policing activities by providing essential information needed to avoid crimes” Musoni said.
During the same occasion to launch community policing the Commissioner General of Police Emmanuel Gasana lauded residents for their collaboration in implementing Community Policing programs since 2007.
He said that “the success of community policing has been attributed to good group effort of residents and good leadership, and this should be continued so as to achieve the country development goals.”
The role of National Police
In order to strengthen the community policing, the Rwanda National Police will put in place a police officer to serve as a Community Liaison Officer, at every sector for the purpose of coordinating activities of the Community Policing Committees.
In this process, the force intends to advise the committees, carrying out training to the members of Community Policing Committees and at the same time finding a rapid solution to problems raised by the committees.
As a means to combat crime and promoting community policing, the Rwandan National Police sensitize the public on the following issues such as together against crime, taking drugs will ruin your life, reporting suspicious activity to the police, speaking-out on gender based violence as a crime and last but not the least, calling 112 or 3512 for police assistance.
In order to perform its duties based on ‘Community Policing, the Rwanda National Policy ethos are based on 7Cs principles of:
– ‘Communicating with the;
– Community to;
– Coordination and;
– ‘Change’ in order for sustainable peace, democracy and development to take root.
Effective community policing as a tool to fight crimes
Effective community policing has a positive impact in reducing neighborhood crime, helping to reduce the fear of crime and enhancing the quality of life in the community.
It accomplishes these things by combining the ideas, efforts and resources of the police, local government and community members. Community policing has a key strategic function to play in this process hence the establishment of Community Policing Committees.
Designing and implementing community policing programs and initiatives is a pre-requisite for the achievement of our vision, mission and goals. It is important that we create and support community partnerships to ensure that all patrol personnel appreciate that community policing in the police primary responsibility, and that all other police personnel should always support the process.
It is desirable for police officials to acquire a general consciousness of concepts of democracy, justice, fundamental freedoms and human rights. But this in itself would be sufficient if police practice were not pervaded and directed in accordance with this consciousness and knowledge.
That is why the Government of Rwanda opted for the community policing strategy and the establishment of Community Policing Committees.
The war on crime will be easier if a mutually beneficial partnership is forged between communities and the police. Under the envisioned project, the community will be responsible for mobilizing and organization of community committees to engage local police at various defined levels on crime prevention.
The police in turn will be expected to offer shift response to the concerns of the community whenever approached.
It is expected the community will reciprocally offer information on criminality to the police to help them deal with safety and security challenges.
In order to achieve this, the Rwanda National Police need to strengthen the existing cooperation with the stakeholders and partners, both national and international.
Experience has shown that, no law enforcement organ can work in isolation of development partners; indeed support is required for the successful implementation of Community Policing Committees.
In summary, the Rwanda National Police is committed to making Rwanda entirely secure, but we may not be in a position to watch over everything; therefore, security is everyone’s business. Take time to ensure that you are safe and secure (not susceptible to crime or danger).
Preventing, detecting and reducing fear of offense is the cornerstone of the establishment of the Community Policing Committees. The Community and Rwanda National Police recognize the significance of strengthening partnerships in securing the environment.
Community Policing Committees will therefore strengthen and enhance the means of securing the safety and peace of the community life.
Therefore, resolving conflicts in the midst of the population through participation of the citizens themselves in the highest anticipated norm.
The country’s one people, one language, one culture is an added advantage for the successful implementation of Community Policing Committees.
Lastly, it is important to report all crimes to the police. Making a report does not obligate you to pursue criminal charges against the suspect.
However, it may avert you, a friend, or someone else from becoming a victim, and may enable the police to identify, apprehend, and take measures to prevent the suspect from committing additional offenses.