The New Times (Kigali)

14 February 2013

Rwanda: Police Step Up Community Policing Drive

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) have launched Community Policing Week as the Force moves further to engage the public in fighting and preventing crimes.

As part of the Community Policing (CP) Week, which entered its fourth day, yesterday, RNP held a countrywide awareness campaign against domestic and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

At national level, the event was held in Rwamagana district.

The annual week-long exercise comes at a time the police-public partnership, which started more than a decade ago, is paying off in cracking down on criminals and enhancing security in communities.

While addressing students in Rwamagana district, Eastern Region Police spokesman Benoit Nsengiyunva said community policing increased a sense of responsibility for personal safety and solved problems among citizens.

He said Police shifted from a predominantly reactive response to service calls, to proactive problem-solving, which increased effectiveness in resolving community-wide problems.

"CPs have been instrumental in combating GBV-related cases such as defilement, assault and rape. Last year, such cases reduced by over 3 per cent countrywide. The campaign aims at involving the people to end the vice," he said.

RNP visited peer families and anti-gender clubs of some of the families affected by Gender-based violence.

Assistant Inspector of Police Angelique Uwamaliya, who is attached to anti-GBV department in RNP, said campaigns have awakened women and girls to break silence by reporting GBV and domestic violence incidences.

She said the existing issues related to GBV would end with time.

"We are sensitising the population and won't tire. There is still evidence of GBV and child abuse that must stop. We gave people hotlines to call the police whenever there is such a crime, unfortunately many take long to do so. This affects investigations," Uwamaliya said.

Fighting narcotics

Meanwhile, local leaders and the public across the country joined RNP in the fight against the sell and consumption of narcotics and illicit brew.

The anti-drugs and alcohol campaign, which mainly targeted the youth, including students and youth associations, saw thousands of litres of illicit brew such as chief waragi, kanyanga and cannabis, destroyed.

Sharon Kabatesi, 15, a Senior Five student at Kabare Secondary School, said that the campaign was long overdue.

"Some communities are taken by evil, students just drink, involve in promiscuity and crime. This trend must end, otherwise the future is bleak," she said.

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