May 29, 2023
When South Sudan became independent in 2011, most of the police officers were recruited from the SPLA/M (Sudan's people Liberation Army/Movement) and the Sudan Police Service after the country separated. Since then, The South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) has encountered several challenges such as lack of professional training of police officers, crime investigation equipment for forensic science and proper understanding of the concept of policing, among others.
As the country struggles to transform its police force and deliver effective policing services, there has always been a challenge of misinterpretation of the concept.
In Sudan, community policing was partially synonymous but different from sharia law or Islamic elements of policing. For examples, police in Sudan recruited spies to watch the affairs of the communities in the neighborhood, when the community member is drinking alcohol then such a person is apprehended by police and humiliated publicly by lashing, which created resentment from the community to work with the police. Therefore, reinvigorating communities and trust building based on good relationship between police and communities is essential to deter crimes and create more law abiding and peaceful neighborhoods. SSNPS is trying to change the mindset of the community members and themselves through community policing and police officers training. Community Policing concept is democratic because it requires cooperation between the law enforcement and the community members through dialogue and sharing information about crimes so that the Police can apprehend criminals and take them to court for prosecution.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) South Sudan has been supporting the SSNPS since 2018 in capacity building through JICA's Knowledge Co-Creation Program (KCCP). Several officers who attended the trainings in Japan embraced the Japanese "Koban" system of Policing which protect people's safety and security basically through close cooperation between community and police.
After coming back, SSNPS proposed activities for community policing by forming Police Community Relationship Committees (PCRCs). This community-based structure is composed of Police officers and community people in the same neighborhood. The objective is to build trust between Police officers and the community through dialogue, which is a typical model of Japanese Koban system in the context of South Sudan.
Many community members have testified that PCRCs are effective since the community can freely call Police and report crimes happening in real time and the Police easily intervened in most cases.
In 2021 and 2022, SSNPS with cooperation from JICA implemented 8 Community -Police meetings in the neighborhoods and about 4 Juvenile crimes prevention outreach in the three divisions of Munuki, Gudele and Juba division. The objective of the outreach was to educate the community members especially the youth on the dangers of drugs and alcohol to the health of youth and societal development. The communities much appreciated the initiative and requested the Police to keep engaging the communities to avoid juvenile crimes which is rampant in Juba. Since the program started, the Police supported by the community have apprehended more than 300 juveniles to the Central Equatoria Police for corrective measures. Upon investigations on why the underage take drugs and alcohol, many factors such as poverty, family neglect and being orphans are commonly cited as the reason for rampant juvenile delinquency in Juba.
In conclusion, SSNPS has committed to continue working with the community to address the issues of Juvenile delinquency and crimes in Juba using various approaches and in the same light JICA South Sudan Office would like to continue working together with SSNPS and the people of South Sudan in realizing peace and social cohesion through community Policing.