A Boost for Security as UN Police Train Law Enforcement Officers in Malakal Town
United Nations police officers in South Sudan are extending their efforts beyond the protection of civilians’ site to assist in the reestablishment and restoration of police services in Malakal – the second largest town after the capital, Juba – as internally displaced persons steadily return, having fled the outbreak of conflict in 2013.
“We’ve noticed that more and more IDPs are streaming out of the POC [Protection of Civilians] site when we open the gates every morning, which means there is now a need for us to focus on law enforcement in town, to make it safer for all who live and go there,” says deputy site coordinator, Ikenna Ozor.
A water-bottling company has recently reopened in the town – a sure sign of the confidence of business owners in the peace and stability that the County government has promised to sustain. The previously abandoned shops are now open, with business people from as far as Darfur selling various wares, as townsfolk sit at the numerous tea-shops enjoying the local pastime.
With the increase of people, comes an increase in petty crimes, which the UN police is training their counterparts to curb.
“I have learned about human rights and how to protect members of the public and their property so that we can improve the quality of life for all citizens in Central Upper Nile state,” says Prisons officer, Sergeant Aliza Thom, revealing what she has learnt at the three-day training that took place at an UNMISS rehabilitated conference hall, at the Police Commissioner’s headquarters.
Because of a limited number of South Sudanese police officers, other uniformed personnel from different departments perform roles that are normally associated with the police, such as patrols. More than fifty uniformed personnel from various units in Malakal received the training that covered crime prevention, trauma and anger management, and community policing mechanisms. The training was aimed at enhancing working relations between the police and the people they serve.
Mr. Ikenna, the deputy site coordinator, reiterated that UNPOL is playing a supporting role in the training of the officers.
“Our belief is that the primary responsibility of the protection of civilians in South Sudan is the responsibility of the government of the day. The police is a major government component that carries out the major duty of protecting civilians. Our duty as UNPOL is just to assist you,” he said.
In his remarks, Police Commissioner Choul Dak thanked the UN police for their consistent support, and encouraged the sharing of knowledge learned amongst the officers and their counterparts.