POLICE WEEK 2017: Ensuring human security as an essential factor for safety and community development


On May 16, Rwanda National Police (RNP) officially launched the countrywide community development activities to mark its 17th anniversary. Since 2010, RNP in collaboration with its policing partners has conducted this annual campaign best known as ‘Police Week.’

Police Week is yet another opportunity to deepen the Police-Public partnership and citizenry participation in inclusive policing as a proactive and efficient tool in crime prevention and own security.

The 4th resolution of the 13th National Dialogue of December 2015, demands deepened citizen participation in planning, monitoring, and implementation of development programmes. Police Week, therefore, responds to this demand by ensuring effective engagement between the police and the community, along with other government institutions and partners in addressing existing human security needs in collaboration with citizens as they take part in their own security and development issues.

Thus, RNP strongly believe that enhanced citizen participation in the maintenance of security produces enormous dividends that help to strengthen the pillar of law and order and to support efforts geared towards sustainable development and social wellbeing of the people.

Police Week activities

The month-long activities to mark the 17th anniversary under the flagship of the annual Police Week, focused on human security-related issues of poverty alleviation, environmental protection, health and hygiene; disaster management, raising awareness against human and drug trafficking, gender-based violence and child abuse; genocide ideology, corruption, and road safety.

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The community development and anti-crime awareness activities came to a climax on Police Day – June 16 – a day when RNP was created in the year 2000 as an efficient and effective force in addressing the security challenges that were relatively high at the time.

During the month-long development activities valued at over Rwf371.7 million, RNP distributed and connected over 3400 households (at least one Village in each of the 30 districts) and 30 health centres with solar energy. The connected homes are those that are far from the national electricity grid.

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Caption:Minister James Musoni, IGP Emmanuel K. Gasana and other officials and residents, during Umuganda in Nyagatare. 103 homes in Kirebe Village in Rwimiyaga Sector were connected with solar energy

Other community development activities conducted include the following;
Medical insurance for 700 people
Constructed two playgrounds – in Gasabo and Rutsiro districts worth Rwf53.8 million
Fighting armyworms - sprayed 46 hectares of the affected plantations
Constructed 150 toilets worth over Rwf23 million
Extension of clean tap water to over 600 households in Gasabo, Burera, Kirehe, Rwamagana, Rutsiro and Nyamagabe districts – Rwf27.5 million
In environmental protection about 20 hectares of forests were reforested; 10 hectares of terraces prepared on hilly areas, and created water trenches
Constructed and renovated 72km of feeder roads
Constructed nine bridges linking communities
Constructed and renovated a combined 53 houses for the disadvantaged families
Prepared 16 organic gardens for the disadvantaged households

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On the other hand, under the ‘Safe Driving: Saves Life’ campaign, RNP erected more signposts and either created or repainted Zebra Crossings in hotspots especially around schools.

Police Day

The Police Day held on June 16, was presided over by HE Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.

The colourful ceremony held at Kigali stadium was also attended by other senior government officials and attracted about 10, 000 partners in policing organized in various groups including members of Community Policing Committees, Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community policing, Anti-crime clubs from schools, commercial motorcyclists associations, Anti-crime Ambassadors mainly composed of local artistes, and members of District Administrative Security Support Organ (DASSO), among others.

The Head of State commended the existing partnership between the public and RNP, saying that this ideal be deepened to further ensure peace and security, which the country deserves in its transformation process.

President Kagame said: “The Police cannot succeed when working alone but it can achieve its goals when working in collaboration with citizens.”

In his strategic guidance, the Head of State said that for the police to sustain and further achieve public trust, confidence, professionalism, self-respect and discipline, they should always be define their values, which ultimately contribute to the country’s transformation process.

“Rwandans should have trust, confidence and be part of their police,” the President said.

The celebrations also included the pass-out of the ninth cadet intake of 363 officers, who were conferred upon the rank of Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

The ‘Police Week 2017’ anniversary activities were conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure, and its affiliated institutions – Rwanda Energy Group (REG), and Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) as well as other ministries including Justice, Local Government, Gender and Family Promotion, and Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs.

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17 years of vibrant partnership in policing

The last 17 years have defined the meaning of partnership in policing. The current safety and security as determined by local, regional and international reports that have placed Rwanda as one of the safest countries globally, is partly attributed to this valuable partnership between RNP and other public and private institutions under the grand and visionary leadership.

These achievements are documented in the book titled: “Policing a Rapidly Transforming Post-Genocide Society,” which highlights 10-key priorities of the strategic framework of RNP that serves as the architecture for preventing and combating crime threats in Rwanda. These key priorities include:
Capacity Building
Force Discipline
Crime Reduction
Community Policing
International Cooperation and Peace Support Operations
Anti-corruption
E-Policing
Media and Communications
Welfare and Infrastructure Development

COMMUNITY POLICING

Community Policing is a philosophy premised on Police-Public Partnership and is characterised by proactive approaches that combine awareness campaigns against crime with human security initiatives which create opportunities for Police- Public interaction. This helps to improve the quality of life for the communities by addressing concerns that would otherwise give rise to security issues and crime.

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Caption:Anti-corruption campaign at Amahoro stadium presided over by Chief Ombudsman, Aloysie Cyanzayire

The RNP Community Policing approach is hinged on the core values of: Justice and respect for human rights, gender sensitivity, Integrity, teamwork, openness, accountability, partnership and a community relations focus, professional conduct, efficiency and effectiveness.

Today, RNP boosts of regular social media interactions, electronic and print publications, toll free telephone lines for emergencies in partnership with Telephone Service Providers, the formation of groups of active community policing partners that include over 15000 Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (YVCP), Anti-crime Ambassadors, 150,000 Community Policing Committees (CPCs), 1640 Anti-clubs in schools, transport associations, media fraternity, artists, faith based organizations and government and private institutions that have signed 45 MoUs with RNP.

This result-oriented partnership is crucial to the high level of safety and security Rwandans enjoy today.

Human security activities

Human security activities geared towards improving the wellbeing of community members have been initiated. They include the construction of houses for the vulnerable households, participation in “Girinka” national project, supporting motorcyclist cooperatives to build their capacities, afforestation- 500 Ha were planted by Police countrywide, helping vulnerable families to pay health insurance (Mutuelle de santé).

CAPACITY BUILDING

In building the capacity and capabilities, RNP took different approaches and establishing various units.

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Caption: Some of the RNP capabilities

RNP Training Schools

In a rapidly changing policing landscape, continuous training is a critical element in skills development in line with the modern policing demands, delivery of high quality and professional services.

The establishment and continued face-lifting of the three police schools – National Police College (NPC) in Musanze, Police Training School (PTS) Gishari and Counter-Terrorism Training Centre (CTTC) Mayange are at the helm of this agenda.

The Department of Training has a vertical and horizontal strategy cutting across the three schools.

Over 7, 800 police officers have gone through vertical training in the past five years alone, which is career-oriented. It encompasses course like Senior Command and Staff Course at strategic level, Junior Command and Staff at the operational level and the tactical command course. Other courses include Basic Training, NCOs as well as the Cadet courses.

Horizontal training, on the other hand, offers specialized skills in specific areas of law enforcement. Such include courses in criminal investigation, forensics, road safety, counter terrorism, crime intelligence and analysis, VIP protection, defensive motor-vehicle operation, marine and diving, as well as Special Forces training. At least 5,975 Police officers have undergone such training in the past five years.

Specifically, NPC, which was established in 2001 as an academy before it was transformed into a College in 2013, it offers Bachelors degree in Law; Forensic Science; Information Security; and Professional Police Studies, and other vertical trainings.

The College is currently conducting the 5th intake of the Police Senior Command and Staff, which offers a Master’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation to senior officers from across the African continent. About 150 police officers from 18 African countries have so far graduated in this field.

Considering that efficient and effective criminal investigations are essential to ensuring justice and rule of law as pillars of good governance, RNP also established the Criminal Investigations School as one of the wings of NPC, which offers basic and advanced investigation courses.

The quality of the case file increases the chances of high conviction rates that in return contribute to crime deterrence, fear of crime and crime prevention. The end result of the process is that, it contributes to public safety which is a primary mandate of the law enforcement agencies. 

Moreover, the extension of the Interpol communication tool – I-24/7 – to all border posts and shared with other agencies like customs to track stolen items or wanted criminals, and pursuing the inevitable ideal of cross-border cooperation, have been essential in criminal investigations and ensuring justice.

PTS and CTTC mainly conduct horizontal courses. PTS has so far conducted four cadet intakes, 13 Basic Training intakes, 19 Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingents under its Peacekeeping Training wing; among many others.

RNP also established and invested in effective specialized units. These include Traffic and Road Safety, Fire and Rescue Brigade; Canine Brigade; Police Air Wing; Marine; Special Airport unit; VIP Protection; 24/7 Intervention Force; and Engineering Regiment. This involves having clear knowledge and understanding of the Police tasks as well as insight into the modern Police equipment in terms of quality durability, performance efficiency, and comparative advantage with other equipment performing similar tasks.

Rwanda National Police remains deliberate and committed to acquisition of the best and most relevant equipment for the force.

Gishari Integrated Polytechnic

GIP is one of the wings of PTS established in partnership with Workforce Development Authority (WDA) in May 2011 under the national policy to s to address Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) needs by imparting practical knowledge and skills to a potential work force of civilian and Police youth.

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Caption:A student at GIP in a mechanical engineering session

It offers 3-year Advanced Diploma Courses to both Police officers and civilians in Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Other short courses ranging between three months and one year include:Domestic Electricity
Domestic Plumbing
Automotive Engine Technology
Agricultural Mechanization
Irrigation and Drainage Technology
Fire Fighting and Rescue Courses
Geographical Information System (GIS)

Since inception, the institution has graduated 161 Diploma holders and passed a good number of vocational trainees. Currently, the institution has a studentship of 716 people in Civil Engineering; Electrical and Electronics Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; and Vocational Trainees.

The polytechnic also plans to introduce Advanced Diploma Courses in the fields of Information and Communication Technology; Food Technology; Hospitality and Tourism; and Agriculture Mechanization.

Response to disasters

The Fire and Rescue Brigade, for example, which started with only two non-firefighting vehicles and 16 qualified staff in 2002, currently boosts of modern firefighting trucks, skilled firefighters and necessary rescue equipment. Rwanda’s level of development comes with challenges, of which fire outbreak is among them. Today, our quick response services to such disasters are at the regional level with plans to acquire more gadgets to be stationed at the district levels.

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The fire unit also conducts community awareness and training, and house-to-house inspection, through which over 20, 300 people have been trained and 1244 public and private facilities inspected.

Road safety

Considering that road carnage poses a security concern and one of the leading causes of death world over, RNP took varied approaches to enforce road safety. These include establishment of two motor-vehicle mechanical inspection centres and a mobile lane, all with the capacity of inspecting the mechanical status of at least 700 vehicles per day.

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The acquisition of state-of-art equipment like breathalysers for alcohol detection; speedometers and speed governors for vehicle speed control, a Hand Held Terminals (HHT) cashless system that requires penalized traffic offenders to pay the fine using smart card (i.e. Visa), and an Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) machine that automatically checks the status of vehicles in relation to vehicle inspection, insurance, and traffic offence record.

Further, the Traffic Department has been equipped with a fleet of motor-vehicles and high speed motorcycles for quick intervention. As a result, response time has reduced from an average of 60 minutes in 2000 to 15 minutes in 2017.

Similarly, Traffic Police has introduced smart driver’s licences and about 300,000 have been issued so far. Looking ahead, a One-Stop Center for Drivers License exams shall be introduced; it will have the capacity of providing exams to up to 200 people per day (for practical driving) whereas the theory test will take only 30 minutes with the results available instantly.

These IT systems have also contributed in fighting corruption within the force by limiting the officers’ contact with money.

WELFARE AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

Effective and resourceful personnel management requires the provision of equipment, facilities and training. Besides schools, RNP also constructed office buildings, including the State-of-art Police General Headquarters in Kacyiru, the Kigali City Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Remera, and upgraded all the regional offices while the Canine Brigade Block is at the completion stage.

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Under the guidance of the President and Commander-in-Chief of Security Forces, His Excellency Paul KAGAME, the Police is constructing a Police Station in each of Rwanda’s 416 sectors across the country, an initiative that presently stands at over 80 percent completion with over 300 police stations built so far, thanks to the active participation of Rwandans who have mobilised themselves both financially and manpower in the spirit of Kwigira ‘Self Reliance.’

Welfare

The Government has been very supportive by financing different welfare schemes such as medical insurance, the armed forces shop and through promotions that lead to increments in salaries for servicemen and women, and easy access to short term and long term loans at low interest rate. Further, the RNP is able to provide transport to police personnel to and from work and provides meals to officers on duty.

Gender as a policing concept

Gender as a development policy is part of RNP. Thus, with the growth in strength of the force, gender mainstreaming has been equally given emphasis, which explains why more than 21 percent of the total force currently, are women.

It is a concept that that force has emphasized even in operations, peacekeeping missions; established gender focal points in all departments and in District Police Units, while the annual Police Women Convention has become a platform where female police officers meet and discuss ways and means through which they can further contribute crime prevention including GBV and child abuse.

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Caption:Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi alongside the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Esperance Nyirasafari inaugurating the Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse

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The Anti-GBV and Child Abuse directorate and Isange One Stop, which has been scaled up to 44 district hospitals countrywide, are all in that line. Today, Isange, which operates 24/7 offering free medical, legal and psycho-socio, and Aftercare services, has handled more than 15000 cases of which 80% of them are females while 62 percent of the total registered cases are children aged below 18 years. The Isange One Stop Centre model has been adopted by international police organizations including Interpol and the Eastern Africa Police Chief Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO).

Today, Rwanda hosts the ‘Regional Centre of Excellence on GBV and Child Abuse’ which came as a result of the commitment by African Security Organs under their umbrella “Kigali International Conference Declaration (KICD.’

COOPERATION

The world is a global village, so the saying goes. This is even more valid when it comes to Police work: the fluidity of crime epitomized by the digital and IT facilitated crimes, the porous borders enabling free movement of criminals; innovations in science based policing knowledge and methods, the need for state-state of the art policing equipment and the overall rapidly changing policing landscape required revisiting our securitization strategy. In this respect Rwanda National Police has 18 bilateral MoUs with foreign institutions, 45 MoUs with national stake holders, and pursues 9 and 10 agreements under the EAC and Northern Corridor arrangements, respectively.

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Caption:Rwanda and Tanzania police forces in a bilateral meeting early 2017

RNP is an active member of INTERPOL, EAPCCO and IACP, EASF, NICP, among others.

Besides, RNP has hosted international conferences for these organizations including Interpol AGM in November 2015, (and also held leadership position of INTERPOL delegate for Africa for 3 years), chaired EAPCCO three times for three years, and IACP once.

Peace keeping

Today, Rwanda which started its police peacekeeping duties in 2005 is ranked the 2nd largest Police contributing country to UN with at least 111o officers currently serving in Haiti, Central African Republic, Darfur and South Sudan, and Abyei. Previously, RNP has deployed to the Ivory Coast, Mali, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

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RNP has also conducted two UN Police Courses (UNPOC), with participants from across the African continent and beyond.

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