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COMMUNITY POLICING: A people centred policing in Rwanda

Rwanda National Police (RNP) was formed in the year 2000 with the responsibility to uphold the law, prevent crime, pursue and bring to justice those who break the law, protect, help and reassure the people and do this with integrity, and sound judgement. At the time, RNP had about 3500 officers to Police a population of nearly 10million.

Achieving such a mission with relatively few staff required well thought strategies, dynamic and actionable plans that would address contemporarily policing challenges and emerging security threats particularly so in a post genocide environment. The method that was chosen and that was to remain the backbone of RNP policing style to date was the Community Policing strategy.

Community Policing is a philosophy premised on Police Public Partnership and characterised by proactive approaches and activities that combine awareness campaigns against crime with human security initiatives which create opportunities for Police- Public interaction. This helps to uplift the quality of life for the communities and addresses concerns that would otherwise give rise to security issues and crime. A Community Policing model has been illustrated by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

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

In this context the Community Policing Department has initiated the following activities: Social media interaction and engagements, a website, electronic and print publications, toll free telephone lines for emergence in partnership with Telephone Service Providers, groups of active community policing partners have been composed. They include over 1500 Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (YVCP), Anticrime 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 MoU with RNP.

In the same vein, Human security activities geared towards improving the well being of communities and promotion of positive attitude have been initiated. They include but are not limited to : 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 ( Mutueelle de santé), distribution of solar systems to the needy in the framework of the national policy of off grid rural electrification and construction of football pitch among others.

The results have been tremendous!!

Crime prevention, reporting, and the spirit and will of the people to be involved in securitization initiatives is undoubtedly on the positive note.

The bigger picture attests to these facts: Rwanda was ranked the 1st country in Africa and 21st globally where citizens trust and rely on Police services to enforce law and order, according to the 2014-2015 World Economic Forum-Global Competitiveness Report.

Again, in the 2015 Gallup report on Law and Order which measured people’s sense of personal security as well as their experiences with law enforcement, Rwanda and Indonesia tied in 4th position globally at 85%. Singapore, Norway, and Spain led.The report was based on more than 142,000 interviews with adults in 141 countries. Again, the recent Report by Rwanda Governance Board published on 14 November 2016 ranked Rwanda National Police Public trust at 97.4 %, and the global competitive index of 2015 reported Rwanda as the best place for woman in Africa and sixth globally- an attribute to which RNP has made its contribution.

Through Community Policing, combined with other positive governance measures of which Rwanda has no shortage, Rwanda National Police aspires to compare security and crime rates with Switzerland, Singapore, Hongkong, Bahrain, Luxembourg, Japan and others at that level.

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