Rwanda National Police (RNP) has reassured that security will continue to prevail in the country even during the forthcoming Christmas and New Year festivities.
The force also appealed to the general public to enjoy in the usual peaceful manner not to disrupt beliefs and celebrations of other people.
While opening a periodic Police-media interaction, yesterday, aimed at ‘strengthening partnerships for quality service delivery,’ the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana, said that “police value the contribution of the media in informing and educating the public on security related matters.”
The periodic session brings together Police and media practitioners to discuss issues pertaining to security and partnership with the media in policing.
The Police Chief said that the safety, security and peace that people in Rwanda enjoy today will continue to be fostered in partnership with the general public and the media in particular, in jointly raising awareness and fighting any threat to the wellbeing of residents.
“There are individuals that look at such festivities as an opportunity to engage in criminal acts like theft or taking advantage of unsuspecting people for their valuables,” IGP Gasana said, calling for usual vigilance and real time information sharing on any suspected wrongdoers.
He reminded parents to monitor and guide their children especially minors as they celebrate, and prevent them from engaging into malpractices such as abuse of alcoholic beverages and going to entertainment spots, which is prohibited by law.
“As various security operations will continue to be conducted as usual, citizens are urged to be involved and continue working with the Police by reporting any suspicious behavior that might require targeted checks,” the Police Chief added.
He further advised people to drink and enjoy responsibly, avoid engaging in violence to ensure a peaceful and crime-free festive season.
Presenting on the state of road safety in the country, the Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety department, Commissioner of Police (CP) George Rumanzi, cautioned motorists against drunk-driving, speeding, recklessness and bad maneuvers, which are most common during the festive season, and at times responsible for fatal accidents.
He, however, said that fatalities on road reduced by 32 percent in the past months of October, November and December so far, compared to the same period last year.
He attributed it to enhanced awareness on road safety as well as the introduction of speed governors in passenger service vehicles.
Internal security status
During the session, RNP also released a report on internal security this year, indicating a reduction of 5.4 percent from 17600 total crimes reported last year to about 16800 recorded this year.
While presenting the report on the security situation, Commissioner for CID, Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACP) Jean-Marie Twagirayezu pointed out that most prevalent crimes committed include, assault, rape, illicit drug-related crimes, defilement, and petty theft.
ACP Twagirayezu attributed the slight decline of crime to enhanced public-police engagement through community policing, and continued involvement of stakeholders in sensitizing the public on crime prevention measures.
This year, Police said, about 35 people were rescued from human traffickers while four other victims were repatriated from the countries where they had been trafficked.
Meanwhile, the force said the capacity of officers has significantly improved and various skills have been acquired to match the present-day policing demands.
The RNP spokesperson, ACP Theos Badege noted that the police welfare has meaningfully continued to be improved, citing the recently inaugurated staff hostels that accommodate about 1500 officers, who were otherwise incurring costs in terms of rent and food.
Police appealed to the public to utilize the Police communication channels to report suspicious and illegal cases.
RNP currently has nine separate hotlines; Maritime 110; Gender Based Violence 3512; abuse by Police officer 3511; traffic accidents 113; emergency 112; Fire Brigade 111; Anti-Corruption 997; Child Help Line 116; and Isange 3029.
Clément Musangwabatware, the Deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption and other related offences, also hailed the collaborative framework that exist between police and other agencies particularly in fighting corruption.
Cléophas Barore, the chairperson of Rwanda Media Commission urged media practitioners to avoid sensationalism and enhance their crime reporting skills.