Rwanda: 19 Years of Partnership in Policing Towards Sustainable Safety and Better Livelihood for Communities

On August 17, 2019, Rwanda National Police (RNP) concluded its 2019 Police Month held under the theme: "19 years of partnership in policing towards sustainable safety and better livelihood for communities."

The month-long community development activities focused on supporting communities and to cement the people-centred policing--a community policing methodology--and raising awareness against high impact crimes.

The Police Month held annually also supplements the national development agenda and builds a strong partnership between RNP and the citizenry in identifying, fighting and preventing crimes.

Over the years, the force has engaged in various policing and human security activities to ensure the responsiveness of everyone in fighting and preventing crime, improving the welfare of the people and a way of dealing with the root cause of crime.

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye hands over a house to one of the beneficiaries in Mutete sector, Gicumbi district.

This year, the countrywide "Police Month" outreach activities launched on August 14, included the construction of 30 houses for the disadvantaged families (one in each district) and six Village offices. The residential and village offices were also installed with solar energy. RNP also connected other 3, 000 households that are far from the national grid, with solar energy, paid annual medical insurance premium (Mutuelle de Santé) for 3, 000 people country-wide and more than 1000 Police officers donated blood to boost the national blood bank.

The climax of the Police Month involved handing over of 30 houses that RNP constructed for the disadvantaged families--one in each district. The handover was done simultaneously across the country.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, while handing over the house to a beneficiary in Gicumbi District, said: "The last 19 years of RNP dedicated and quality services to the people have not been in vain, we have a safer and secure country, and this is because of the strong partnership with the people and other government and private institutions".

This partnership between all entities and the people, he said, is a leadership policy to join efforts in uplifting the quality of life for Rwandans.

He added that security is the foundation and pillar for sustainable development and wellbeing of the people.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, said: "The strong partnership between Police and the public is the foundation for crime-free villages, safety and security the country enjoys today. We are enhancing this partnership for the betterment of our communities."

IGP Dan Munyuza addressing residents of Cyumba in Gicumbi District.

He added: "Security is a wide aspect, poor living conditions means being insecure. RNP emphasizes human security in its policing structures to support the national development agenda by improving the quality of life for Rwandans but also addressing concerns that would otherwise give rise to security issues and crime."

The Police Chief emphasized the public responsiveness against illicit drugs, gender-based violence, corruption, child pregnancy and human trafficking, among others.

THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH

The official launch was held simultaneously in all regions of the country and presided over by cabinet ministers and other senior government officials and RNP leadership. The launch was marked with the unveiling of construction works of village offices and shelter for the less privileged families and installation of solar power systems.

The Minister of Youth Rosemary Mbabazi, who presided over the launch in City of Kigali, while addressing thousands of residents in Mageragere Sector, Nyarugenge District, said that community policing has had a "remarkable impact on national development."

"We have witnessed many changes in the last 19 years of partnership in policing and Police human security activities; crime reduction and socio-economic development," Minister Mbabazi said.

She noted that police can't work alone and "every Rwandan has a duty to report any wrongdoers."

"Drug dealers and gender-based violence are crimes committed in your neighbourhoods, don't keep quiet, report such people and strive to make your village free from crimes," Minister Mbabazi told residents.

Minister of Youth, Rosemary Mbabazi launching the Police Month in City of Kigali.

In Eastern Province, the launch of the 2019 outreach activities was held in Gafunzo, Sake Sector of Ngoma District, by the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Fanfan Rwanyindo.

Minister Rwanyindo urged Ngoma residents to "fear and fight criminality." "The foundation of your well-being is the security of which everyone should be part."

In Northern Province, the State Minister in the Ministry of Health in charge of Public and Primary Healthcare, Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, while addressing residents of Cyanika in Burera District, urged the youth to avoid being conscripted in trafficking and consuming illicit drugs, instead join efforts in breaking chains of supply.

In Western Province, Governor Alphonse Munyentwali, which addressing thousands of residents of Nyamasheke District in Cyato Sector, said that the "19 years of partnership in policing have not been in vain." "Today, we enjoy a safe and secure country, which lays the foundation for our security organs to also engage in community development activities. Be eyes and ears of safety, security and peace and give no room for rumours," Governor Munyentwali said.

Governor of the Southern Province, Emmanuel K. Gasana, DIGP-Administration and Personnel Juvenal Marizamunda and other local leaders giving a cow to an elderly beneficiary in Nyanza District.

Launching the Police Month in the Southern Province, Governor Emmanuel K. Gasana told residents of Ngera Sector in Nyaruguru District, that the Police outreach activities are the results of "good governance where all institutions work together to improve lives of Rwandans."

He appealed to residents to sustain what has been achieved by working with the Police and other security organs against lawlessness, through information sharing.

WEEK ONE: Raising awareness against illicit drugs

The first week embarked on fighting narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, one of the major pressing security issues affecting youth development in the country. The week was characterized by disposing of drugs impounded in separate Police operations countrywide, holding youth and communities meetings on ill-effects of abusing drugs, enlightening them on the law against the scourge, meeting transporters to strengthen efforts in breaking chains of supply, and holding a "walk against drug abuse" especially in border communities; at La Croniche border point with DR Congo in Rubavu District, in Rusizi district, Cyanika border point with Uganda in Burera District, Nemba in Bugesera District, Rusumo in Kirehe District and Matimba in Nyagatare District.

The targeted districts have a common factor of being exposed to the porous border with neighbouring countries where narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are traffic from.

Police officers donating blood.

During the course of the week 1600kgs and 8324 pellets of cannabis, 34157 PCS of illegal brews like Chief Waragi and suzi and over 241,000 litres of illicit gin and locally distilled illicit substances seized in separate Police operations countrywide, were disposed of.

WEEK TWO: Raising awareness against GBV and teenage pregnancy

The second week focused on raising awareness against gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy where Rwanda National Police (RNP) and partners in justice, health and governance sectors provided psycho-trauma counselling and medical to teen mothers and victims of violence, through GBV clinic in various parts of the country.

Around 230 teen mothers around the country were mobilized and their children registered, and together with partners in justice, received complaints against the suspect of GBV and child abuse.

WEEK THREE: Environmental protection

The third week embarked on environmental conservation; protecting nature against pollutants and conducting awareness campaigns to influence behavioural change on environmental protection.

It also focused on testing vehicle emissions and delivering messages related to fighting environmental pollution; public awareness in communities living in high-risk zones and wetlands to encourage them to relocate to safer zones, and enlightening the public on existing laws and policies on the environment including non-biodegradable plastic bags. Operations against polythene bags were also conducted across the country, especially in towns and trading centres and borderlines where a number of traffickers and sellers were also arrested and the hundreds of boxes of non-biodegradable materials impounded.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), poor air quality is one of the world's most pressing environmental health threats. It estimates that today, more than 90% of people globally breath polluted air and approximately seven million people die from air pollution-related causes every year. Fuel emissions from vehicles rank among the worst air pollutants. Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution globally leading to climate change.

In responding to the problem, testing vehicle emissions is part of the Motor-vehicle inspection services.

SECURITY AND HYGIENE CAMPAIGN

The environmental protection week was climaxed with the closing of the 8th edition of the joint RNP and City of Kigali security and hygiene campaign, which was dedicated to promoting a safer, cleaner and greener city.

During the closure of 8th edition security and hygiene campaign, which lasted for six months, the Minister of Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka said that the campaign, which has registered tremendous achievements in aspects of security and hygiene for the city, should be extended to other parts of the country.

"The theme--keeping Kigali clean, green and safe--is an impactful campaign which should be scaled up to a 'clean, green and safe Rwanda, we will support you," Minister Shyaka said.

He observed that this partnership contributed greatly in turning Kigali into one of the cleanest and safer cities world over.

The Minister commended the role of city residents and grassroots leaders in this campaign and urged entities still lagging behind to learn from others to achieve the required standards in all aspects of security and development.

Subsequently, the security and hygiene campaign and competition have been scaled-up to all local entities across the country.

WEEK FOUR: Road safety

The fourth week embarked on promoting road safety. The force and partners in road safety continued to educate and raising awareness on proper road usage among different groups of road users, to further curb down fatalities. Targeted groups were motorcyclists, drivers of special hires, trucks or trailers, travel agencies as well as pedestrians including students. The fourth week was also in line with the 52-weeks of Gerayo Amahoro (arrive safely) campaign launched in May to influence a behavioural change of all road users in respect of traffic rules and regulations, owing to the fact that majority of the accidents are caused by human behaviours.

Partnership with the community

Community Policing is a philosophy premised on Police-Public Partnership and is characterized by proactive approaches that combine awareness campaigns against crime with human security initiatives which create opportunities for Police- Public interaction. This helps to improve the quality of life for the communities by addressing concerns that would otherwise give rise to security issues and crime.

The RNP Community Policing approach is hinged on the core values of justice and respect for human rights, gender sensitivity, Integrity, teamwork, openness, accountability, partnership and a community relations focus, professional conduct, efficiency and effectiveness.

Since the year 2000 when it was created, RNP has opened communication channels with the public including regular social media interactions, electronic and print publications, toll-free telephone lines for emergencies, the formation of groups of active community policing partners that include over 260, 000 Youth Volunteers in Community Policing, Anti-crime Ambassadors, 150,000 Community Policing Committees (CPCs), over 2000 Anti-clubs in schools, transport associations, media fraternity, artists, faith-based organizations as well as government and private institutions that have signed MoUs with RNP.

The RNP strongly believe that enhanced citizen participation in maintaining security as well as getting involved in human security initiatives lays a strong foundation that helps to strengthen partnerships in crime prevention, support social programmes and support national efforts towards sustainable development.

The current safety and security as recognized by local, regional and international reports that have placed Rwanda as one of the safest countries globally, is partly attributed to this valuable partnership between RNP and other public and private institutions under the grand and visionary leadership.

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