Citizen-Focused Policing

At present, the Afghan National Police (ANP) are not fully able to perform their tasks of enforcing law and order and responding to citizens enquiries. Police work is made difficult not only by the tense security situation in Afghanistan.

Context

Internal problems of the police authority and poorly organised workflows also hamper effective policing under the rule of law. Police officers lack social competences such as communication and team skills, as well as strategies for constructive conflict resolution.

Citizens’ trust in the police cannot be assumed under these circumstances. There is very little cooperation between the population and the police. Overall, the ANP lacks professionalism, which is having a detrimental effect on the security situation in Afghanistan. Setting up a well-structured and well-organised police force is therefore one of the priorities of Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Objective

The Afghan police force acts responsively; public confidence in the police has improved and citizens cooperate with the police in a spirit of trust. The police are able to resolve internal problems and conflicts efficiently so that they can concentrate on their main task of protecting the citizens. A safe environment and stronger state institutions will create stability and hence promote peace and security in the country. Improvements that are felt quickly, if possible, are pursued.

Measures and Results

Community policing (CP) is regarded as an effective approach to police work and is being adopted across the globe. The concept is based on the conviction that the police need to integrate citizens more closely into their work. It focuses on close liaison between the police and the population. In Afghanistan too, the Ministry of Interior Affairs is promising to improve police work through the use of community policing. The authority has therefore created CP structures in all 34 provinces of the country. This means there are now police units specifically responsible for liaising with the population. These units are important points of interaction, and provide the foundation for the German Cooperation with Afghanistan in the field of community policing. The current programme, on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, began with a focus on Afghanistan’s northern provinces, but due to its significance for security in the country it has now been extended to cover nine other provinces. It is cooperating closely with the Afghan authorities and the German Police Project Team (GPPT) in Afghanistan.

In dialogue with the population

The programme supports direct dialogue between the police and the population in forums that focus on security-related topics. For example, the population can provide important information to help prevent and investigate local crime. By June 2019, around 14,000 participants had taken part in public consultations at district level. More than 740 dialogue forums had taken place.

Conferences are also held at the provincial level once a year. These events are attended by senior representatives of the police, the provincial governments and civil society. Among other things, they address security-related topics that affect several districts or an entire province – whether or not there are enough security forces in place, for instance, or cases of misconduct by officials.

Information for schoolchildren

The project also operates in schools to teach the young generation about the role of the police force and its importance for society. Around 126,000 children and young people have already taken part in information events run by the police. The police officers also teach the children and young people practical skills, such as the correct way to behave in the event of an emergency.

Training for police officers

Regular training sessions are held to teach police officers the basics of community policing. These sessions also raise their awareness of social skills with which they can help resolve conflicts within the police authority. Depending on the specific topics addressed, the training sessions target police management, teaching staff, police officers specially trained for community policing, or officers on patrol. By June 2019, more than 1,800 police officers had received training.

At a glance

Programme:
Community Policing in Afghanistan (CPA)
Commissioned by:
German Federal Foreign Office
Partner:
Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Implementing organisations:
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Provinces:
Badakhshan, Balkh, Bamyan, Herat, Jawzjan, Kabul, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Panjsher, Parwan, Samangan, Takhar
Programme objective:
To increase public confidence in the police. To enable the police force to resolve internal difficulties and conflicts efficiently
Overall term:
January 2018 – March 2020