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GPF, GIZ embark on community policing in Banjul

The Community Policing Unit of Gambia Police Force (GPF) in collaboration with GIZ, have on 6th June 2022, commenced training for 15 community policing coordinators in the city of Banjul. The coordinators are drawn from police stations in the three local government areas of North, South, and Central Banjul. These coordinators are being prepared to take the lead in the implementation of community-oriented policing in the respective wards of the city such as Crab Island, Campama, and Half Die.

The topics covered in the training include fundamentals of community policing, benefits of community policing, principles of community policing, implementation of community policing strategy, dealing with sexual and gender-based violence, communication skills, building and maintaining rapport with community members through patrols, mediation structures, arrest and detention, human rights and policing, and understanding democratic policing.

At the end of the three days training, the participants expressed satisfaction with the training content. They promised to make use of the information and knowledge thus acquired in the performance of their duties. They also confirmed that their understanding of community policing and the inherent benefits of partnership with community members to solve problems of crime has been improved significantly by the training.

On Thursday 9th June 2022, seventeen community members from a cross-section of wards in Banjul attended a community engagement town hall with the community policing unit personnel. In the first half of the engagement, the community members were informed about the community policing strategy of GPF. Chief Superintendent Lamin Jaiteh, the officer commanding GPF Community Policing Unit, shared that the police management has acknowledged the need for a shift in policing from the traditional mode of reactive policing to proactive policing. He said the new approach in policing emphasizes crime prevention through regular and interactive police patrols in the communities. Community members commended the GPF for taking the initiative to work closely with communities and collectively find effective solutions to their security concerns. They offered recommendations for the police to embark on frequent school visitations to sensitize students about crime prevention and the dangers of anti-social behavior. They also encouraged the police to involve religious leaders in community policing activities because of the respect and influence they command amongst their congregants.

The GIZ’s Police Advisor, Abdou Bojang, giving a background of the project, said Police Programme Africa – Joint German-EU Support to The Gambia Police Force is co-financed by the Federal Government of Germany and the European Union. He outlined the outcome areas of the programme as enhancing the administrative and human resource management capacities of GPF, facilitation of a responsive and accountable police service through community policing and a robust internal complaints mechanism, training and equipment support, and infrastructural enhancement to ensure police stations meet minimum standards.

The community members and the community policing coordinators commended GIZ for their support in facilitating the training and community engagement. Participants from both the training and engagement confirmed that the community policing approach will result in a harmonious relationship between the police and the communities they serve. They all pledged to work together to ensure the reduction of crime in the city of Banjul.

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