25 South Sudanese police officers organize a clean-up campaign for police stations in Aweil
“Regular cleaning in our police stations is a challenge, reveals Lieutenant-Colonel Musa Uger, Director of the Aweil Central Police Post in Northern Bahr El Ghazal, South Sudan. “We don’t have soap, detergent and adequate cleaning materials.”
Director Uger’s viewpoint is corroborated by Warrant Officer Alou Abeik Abeik, who works at the same station. “The police post consists of two cells that house some 50 male and female detainees. The detention rooms are small, and we recognize that it must be kept neat and tidy,” says the Warrant Officer. “It is every suspect’s right to be housed in clean surroundings,” he adds.
During the dry season, these two congested rooms become very hot. The limited space and high number of detainees, plus the long hiatus between when a suspect is apprehended and is finally brought to court to face charges, make things worse.
South Sudanese police officers, therefore, decided to take matters into their own hands, and with a little help from United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers serving with UNMISS, initiated a clean-up campaign which brought together colleagues from all five counties in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.
“I believe we are setting an example here by washing and cleaning these detention areas at our Aweil headquarters,” says Assistant Police Officer James Garang, who travelled 40 kilometers from the Ariath Police Station where he is stationed, to participate in the clean-up drive. “Health and safety do go together and must be considered a priority, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he states.
The cleaning programme is part of a two-week Training of Trainers exercise on communication, crime scene management and leadership skills organized and facilitated by UNPOL.
“Our intent is to build capacities among our colleagues from the South Sudan National Police Service, so that, when UNMISS finally completes its mission here in South Sudan, national police officers will be able to action all internationally-accepted standards of policing. Treating suspects and inmates humanely and ensuring their dignity is upheld at all times, is an important aspect,” says Joseph Akatuhwera, a Police Adviser.
“This clean-up campaign is a way to build confidence among detainees that police officers from their country treat them with respect and are capable of upholding the law to the highest degree,” he adds.
Three stations benefited from the campaign – Aweil Central Police Station, Maper Police Station and the Child Protection Unit Police Station