Somali Police Force trained in community policing to counter extremism
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has commenced a week-long community policing training in Mogadishu, to boost the skills of the Somali Police Force (SPF) in countering violent extremism, through enhanced collaboration and partnership with the community. Facilitated by the AMISOM Police component, the training at the General Kahiye Police Academy in Mogadishu, for 25 SPF personnel, was jointly opened by the AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Augustine Magnus Kailie, and the SPF Deputy Police Commissioner, Brig. Gen. Zakia Hussein Ahmed. “The general aim of the refresher course in preventing and countering violent extremism through community policing is to equip the SPF participants with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude in community policing strategies in the fight against violent extremism,” AIGP Kailie said on Monday. AIGP Kailie, noted that the transnational nature of violent extremism, requires a multifaceted approach to tackle it, thus the need for law enforcement agencies, such as the SPF, to embrace community policing, so as to build interactive partnerships with the communities they serve, to effectively counter the vice and crime in general. “Violent extremism is a multifaceted global phenomenon. It knows no boundaries. Therefore, preventing and countering it equally requires a multi-dimensional approach. In this vein, the role of law enforcement agencies, for that matter, the police, cannot be overemphasized,” he said. On her part, Brig. Gen. Zakia reiterated the importance of community policing, saying the concept is the answer to violent extremism, not only in Somalia but also the rest of the world, as it encourages members of public to play a role in keeping their communities safe. Brig. Gen. Zakia noted that the participants were deliberately selected from various ranks of the forces including officers and constables and from departments like operations, Criminal Investigation Unit (CID), Training Unit and the Demining Unit of the SPF, to broaden its community policing reach. She urged the participants to openly engage with the AMISOM Police facilitators, and draw from their experiences to enrich SPF’s ongoing community policing programme tagged “Share with Us”, which encourages local communities to volunteer information on crimes within the community. “This community policing training,” Brig. Gen. Zakia noted “will particularly be useful in how we can work closely with the public to counter violent extremism,” She added, “As it is, we have recently engaged with the public in meetings under a programme called ‘Share with Us’, which is a forum in which the public and police are working together to address security-related challenges. These public meetings are ongoing and will benefit a lot from our police officers getting training in community policing.” During the training the participants will be taken through a wide range of topics on community policing and other aspects of general policing phenomena. The topics include the background of community policing, core components, models and legal framework of community policing in Somalia. Other topics include community policing strategies, gender issues in community policing, challenges of community policing; society and the police in community policing, and community policing and radicalization, among others. In attendance were the AMISOM Police Operations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Daniel Ali Gwambal, AMISOM Police Training Coordinator, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kofi Amevenku, SPF Director of Community Policing, Brig. Gen. Yusuf Mohamed Karto, SPF Director of Training and Planning Directorate, Maj. Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed, and the Head of Training at the General Kahiye Police Training Academy, Col. Abdirahman Mohamed Koronto. The AMISOM Police is mandated to provide operational support to the Somali Police Force (SPF), including training and mentoring, with the aim of transforming it into a credible and effective organisation adhering to internationally accepted standards.