Malawi Police Service (MPS) has spelt the need to strengthen Community Policing structures in the country in order to enhance security at all levels.
Director of Research and Planning at Police Headquarters, Dr George Kanji said this on Monday in Mponela, Dowa when he officially opened a three day Refresher Course on Child Protection and Gender Based Violence (GBV) for Police Officers In-Charge for Police Stations and Senior Deputy Commissioners of Police.
He said community policing dynamistic have evolved over the years and there is need for Police Officers to be updated on the new developments.
“ We are happy that Police Officers in Charge Police Stations in the country are attending the meeting which will enable us brainstorm on new strategies on how community policing services can be improved for the better,” Kainja pointed out.
He said the MPS has developed a new handbook for community policing and there is a revised policy on child protection in which the officers should be made aware of.
Kainja added that Police Stations have guidelines for managing Victim Support Units (VSU) which calls for the respect of individual human rights and integrity in championing privacy.
The Director admitted that although the trust between the Public and Police has gone down recently there is need to strategize on how best the trust could be restored.
He said the meeting offers us an opportunity to explore on how the Police should manage the current situation and cement the much needed cooperation from the members of public.
Kainja thanked United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) for their continued support it is rendering to the Malawi Police Services for years in various sectors.
Unicef Child Protection Specialists, Janet Liabunya called for systemic changes in the Police Services in which work force culture should change.
She said individual Police Officers need to understand their duties on how they could work with communities in addressing their security concerns and protection of their individual rights.
“There are changes in some laws of the country and Police Officers have to develop an interest to know the changes in order to apply them effectively in delivering their services. We have policies and guidelines in place and this calls for every police officer in the country to be familiar of them,” Liabunya added.
Commissioner of Police Responsible for Community Policing, Merlyn Yolamu said MPS developed community policing handbook, reviewed Child Protection Policy and VSU guidelines which were developed some five years ago.
She said the documents have been used for effective implementation of activities GBV, Child protection and crime prevention.