PROJECT: Police Programme Africa – Joint German-EU Support to the Gambia Police Force
On the 4th of September 2023, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow and the European Union Delegation Representative in The Gambia, His Excellency Corrado Pampaloni, inaugurated four model police stations in The Gambia. Three model police stations are situated in the Kanifing Municipality: Serrekunda, Bundung, and Bakoteh. The fourth police station, Brusubi, is in the West Coast Region.
The “Joint German-EU Support to the Gambia Police Force” Programme –commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office and co-funded by the European Union- constructed and equipped the four model police stations in close collaboration with the Gambia Police Force.
The buildings provide an adequate infrastructure for professional police work. They were designed to be human rights compliant and meet the minimum requirements for citizen-oriented policing. They have separate detention cells for women, men and juvenile suspects. Police officers can meet in a conference room to consult with the entire team.
The buildings in Serrekunda, Bundung and Bakoteh are divided into public and restricted access zones to prevent unauthorised access to the interview rooms, detention cells, offices, and exhibit stores. This way, witnesses and suspects can be interviewed in separate rooms. They will be separated from each other and away from the crowded charge offices, where they are in earshot of people who should not be privy to confidential information required for police investigations.
In contrast, the reception area, traffic police, and community policing offices are easily accessible, given their need for frequent interactions with the public.
Material evidence and property connected to a crime can now be stored in a secured room, significantly enhancing the Gambia Police Force’s capacity to manage exhibits, thus preserving their integrity and acceptance during criminal proceedings.
In the new model stations, police officers, visitors and detainees will have separate sanitary facilities for women, men and differently-abled persons.
The buildings are designed to be the most energy-efficient from a construction perspective. Floor-to-ceiling length windows allow more air to be ventilated, thus reducing the need for electricity to cool the offices. Detention cells also have more vents for the detainees to have sunlight and fresh air circulation.
The model stations have new furniture and office inventory, such as computers, network printers, criminal investigation kits, digital cameras, filing cabinets, safes and projectors.
While the construction of the model police stations was underway, the officers working at Serrekunda, Bakoteh, Bundung and Brusubi stations were trained in preventing and investigating sexual and gender-based violence cases, basic forensics, report writing, searches, interview techniques, and community-oriented policing. During on-the-job trainings, the officers received hands-on coaching from their trainers, who observed them on the work floor and accompanied them into the communities during the investigations.
They are now well prepared and equipped to fill their positions and to contribute to making the new police stations real models for the rest of the country.