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February 26, 2019

Promoting peace and security through police - community dialogue

South Sudan got independence in 2011 from Sudan. Most of its police force was recruited from the SPLA/M, (Sudan's people Liberation Army/Movement) and the Sudan police service after the country separated. This with no doubt comes with many challenges in terms of discipline and understanding of the concept of policing. As the country struggles to transform its police force and deliver effective policing service, the concept of community policing is subject to argument and divergent views within the police organizations.

In Sudan, community policing was synonymous with 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 neighbor is drinking alcohol then such a neighbor is apprehended by police and humiliated publically by lashing, this created resentment from the community to work with the police. However, reinvigorating communities is essential if we are to deter crime and create more vital neighborhoods.

Photo


In some communities, it will take time to break down barriers of apathy and mistrust so that meaningful partnerships can be forged. Trust is the value that underlies and links the components of community partnership and problem solving. A foundation of trust will allow police to form close relationships with the community that will produce solid achievements. Without trust between police and citizens, effective policing is impossible.

In 2017 and 2018 respectively, four senior police officers from South Sudan national police service benefited from the Japan Technical Corporation called the knowledge co-creation programs (KCCP), to attend courses in community policing and organizational management. The participant included the current official spokes persons for the South Sudan National Police Service. While in Japan, they interacted and exchanged knowledge with participants from other countries on community policing.

They participants were impressed with the Japan model of community policing called the"Koban", they were tasked to develop action plans to be implemented when they return to South Sudan.

PhotoOn Radio, talk show, the spokesperson for the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) Maj.General Justin Daniel. (Middle), Col, Celerino Jada Director For community policing (Right) and JICA staff Emmanuel Jok D in charge of police sector


At JICA South Sudan, The overall peace in the communities is viewed from the lens of government and the communities interacting and exchanging views on the issues that concerns their safety among others, in that connection, community policing, where the police and the communities work together in reporting crimes and apprehending criminals, which comes out because of mutual trust and confidence build between this stake holders is very crucial.

PhotoPolice Inspector for the Gumbo Division giving remarks to the community during the community-policing meeting.


Community policing is, in essence, a collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems. With the police no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods. Community policing has far-reaching implications.

The expanded outlook on crime control and prevention, the new emphasis on making community members active participants in the process of problem solving, and the patrol officers' pivotal role in community policing require profound changes within the police organization. The neighborhood patrol officer, backed by the police organization, helps community members mobilize support and resources to solve problems and enhance their quality of life. Community members voice their concerns, contribute advice, and take action to address these concerns. Creating a constructive partnership will require the energy, creativity, understanding, and patience of all involved.

In the last fiscal year 2018, JICA in partnership with SSNPS conducted three community events from 2nd , 9th and 16th of March; these activities included a one-day community policing workshop which was conducted at Aron international hotel, the workshop brought together about 40 people consisting of community leaders and police officials from the six police divisions in Juba who participated.

PhotoCommunity leaders, JICA staffs and police officers pose for a photo after the community-policing workshop on 26th of February 2019

PhotoCommunity leaders, JICA staffs and police officers pose for a photo after the community-policing workshop on 26th of February 2019


The three community meetings where conducted in Gudele, Buluk and Gumbo police division respectively. This attracted divergent group of people with different political, religious and cultural backgrounds.

As a way of strengthening relationship between the police and the communities, the communities freely asked questions and relayed their safety concerns to the police officers especially in Gudele and Gumbo where the meetings took place. The atmosphere in itself impressed all the stakeholders who later on requested JICA South Sudan to continue supporting such dialogue in order to strengthen the relationship.

PhotoThe Senior Representative of JICA South Sudan office making remarks during the community-policing meeting in Gumbo division


In nutshell, Community policing is the easier way for the community to coordinate and interact with the police officials in various divisions, hence, creating ownership of the initiative of the program to the communities in and out of Juba.

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