Residents of the Eastern Province have said that the community policing initiative has contributed not only to behavioural change as far as security matters are concerned. They also say it has helped them access justice and built their confidence as players in crime prevention.
They made the remarks during their meeting with a team of senior police officers and officials from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on Tuesday, in Nyagatare District.
The delegation, that toured several parts of Nyagatare was headed by the Director of Civic Education in the Community Policing Department, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Teddy Ruyenzi, director of gender promotion at RNP, Superintendent of Police Pélagie Dusabe, and the UNDP representative at RNP, Emmanuel Macumu.
Desire Bazatsinda, a resident of Nchuri village in Nyagatare, said the prevailing security in the area is largely down to community policing committees (CPCs), which are key in crime prevention.
“Members of CPCs continuously educate us about our rights and how to access justice in case of any disputes, this has made our communities more secure,” said Bazatsinda.
The meeting was also attended by former drug addicts, now organised under the umbrella association, Friends at Work.
The association, composed of 37 members was formed five months ago.
According to its chairperson, Jean Marie Vianney Muhoza, the association now has over Rwf400, 000 on their bank account.
“All members have signed a performance contract under which each committed to work hard and to have purchased a plot of land by the end of next year. All this is possible because after we were sensitised by the Police and CPCs on the dangers of drug abuse and responsible living, we decided to change our behaviour and our way of living,” Muhoza said.
“We are now happy that we are contributors to crime prevention and security,” he added.
SSP Ruyenzi said: “We are happy with all the crime prevention groups for their efforts in ensuring public safety and they need to keep up the fight against negative ideology and always share information timely with Police. If we are to achieve our developmental goals we have to be patriotic and have integrity.”
During the meeting, the Nyagatare District Community Liaison Officer (DCLO), Inspector of Police Jean Claude Kaburabuza presented the crime status in the district saying that the seizure of illegal substances was due to the cooperation between the public and community policing committees.
Over the past one month, he said, police seized 1,200 liters of illicit gin, 700kg of cannabis and 45 cartons of smuggled Lumartem tablets, all worth Rwf14 million.