The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA)’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) project implemented the first-ever “Back to Policing” on-the-job training for approximately 500 Police Officers in Kabul. The on-the-job training of Afghan National Police Officers is a demand-driven initiative guided by MoIA leadership.
The five-day training workshop was held from 17-22 May 2021 and equipped the Officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve information sharing with influential groups in Afghan society including Community and Police Councils, Women’s Shuras, Religious Institutions and Educational Institutions in Kabul. Ms. Nooria Azizi, who attended the training from an educational institution in Kabul, summarized the importance of the workshop by declaring, “We need police to keep the confidentiality when it comes to information sharing by citizens.”
The “Back to Policing” workshop was designed to engage police to work with communities in Kabul to enhance information sharing, increase police responsiveness and reduce the citizens and police gap. As per one of the police participants who didn’t disclosed her name, “We are not a military force, our credibility comes from the constitution and the police oath - we need to be more professional to better serve our communities and implement law enforcement”. She further added, “We are excited to work with communities and attain their buy in through built trust and information sharing.”
During the five days of training, the Officers were taught public relations and confidence-building initiatives, crime prevention tactics, professional ways to secure citizens’ cooperation for safety and security, the proper use of police resources and the advantages of female police officers’ involvement in community policing. “Women’s involvement in community policing is a must; if Police Departments lack professional and qualified female officers, then there is risk that female members of society will not report to the Police” explained a Family Response Unit Officer.
The level of crime and violence is almost double since beginning 2021 in Kabul and major cities. The “Back to Policing” training will help address the immediate issues surrounding Kabul citizens’ key concerns and enable Police to better respond to public needs. The training workshop will be followed by public outreach to schools, universities, Community and Police Councils, Women’s Councils, and mosques, led by the Police Departments of Kabul and supported by COPS.
With generous funding from the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA) donors, the COPS project builds and expands upon proven methods for the enhancement of education and professional capacity of Police Officers. This programme will be expanded to Afghanistan’s major cities and provinces with the objective to improve the delivery of police services at the community level, thereby improving security and public trust towards the rule of law and security institutions.