SSNPS makes efforts to build people’s trust
Ugandan Police Commissioner, Fred Yiga, currently commissioning the UNMISS police, has been the chief technical adviser for the South Sudan’s interior minister and inspector general of police. Photo UNMISS
January 30, 2014 [JUBA] — South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) was seeking to bridge the gap of trust between citizens and the force which had widened during the crisis in the country, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) said in Juba today.
“There are increasing demands for police to become visible in its law and order role,” said Gen. Pieng Deng Kuol, describing the extent of the division between the police and the people as “detrimental to efficient and successful future operations, reforms and restructure” of the force.
Following discussions with UNMISS Police Commissioner Fred Yiga on how to achieve a positive outcome out of a negative situation, Gen. Kuol presented a draft strategy which will focus on developing capacity of SSNPS officers’ skills in reconciliation and rebuilding of public relations as well as place importance on bringing civilians back to their homes.
He said the pilot programme which will start in Juba before extending to other states, will establish an interactive process, integrating SSNPS officers approved by IDP community leaders in protection of civilian sites.
He emphasized that SSNPS would not “force ourselves in, but need to develop a programme that is attractive to the people”, with an expected result of improved relations and eventual repatriation from protection sites.
“Before the crisis, we had a very steady programme of transforming and reforming the police service but because of the last few days, there has been a need to change our direction before we continue with what we had planned,” he said. “We are talking about South Sudanese who are living in fear … (and) need confidence that police in this country is still available for them and can give them the protection that they think we give them.”
Mr. Yiga said UNPOL had agreed to work with SSNPS to raise awareness through the media and give local police officers specialized training in topics such as human rights, protection of civilians and international humanitarian law.
“Police is the only institution that has been mandated by the constitution to keep law and order and this is the time to make sure that it is visible,” he said. “The police must make sure that they keep their promise of assuring the people… Development at this time in history cannot happen unless all the citizens in this country feel secure.”