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African Union trains Somali police on criminal investigations

Thursday, November 01, 2012
By Majid Ahmed

A training officer gives instructions to Somali police cadets in Mogadishu. [Majid Ahmed/Sabahi]

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The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has started training Somali police officers on criminal investigations to help build their capacity to take over security responsibilities.

The training started October 15th and will continue through December. Officers from the AMISOM Police Component are leading the training in four stages, with 40 Somali police officers training during each stage.

"The goal of this training is to build the capacity of the Somali police and to equip them with the latest methods in criminal investigations and necessary legal procedures in this area so they can efficiently perform their duties," said General Abdullahi Hassan Barise, head of criminal investigations in the Somali Police Force.

"Training the police on basic skills in criminal investigations is very useful because it helps them deal with a crime-ridden environment that requires maintaining law and order and fighting crimes," he told Sabahi.

AMISOM Police Commissioner Charles Makono said the police trainers are committed to helping the Somali Police Force. "This step comes within the framework of an operation to rehabilitate the Somali police after several years of conflict and lawlessness," he said in a statement.

"We hope this training will enhance the efficiency of the Somali police with regard to criminal investigations as well as maintaining order, fighting crime, reinforcing the rule of law and bringing down the murder rate in Mogadishu, thus making it a safer place to live in," Makono said.

AMISOM not staying forever
"Training Somali police officers is very important to building a force that can take over security tasks from AMISOM in the future," said Hassan Ahmed, a retired Somali police officer and a former criminal investigations instructor at the police academy.

"AMISOM will not stay in this country forever, so there is an urgent need to train Somali security and police forces to take responsibility of security in the country as soon as possible," he told Sabahi.

Ahmed encouraged the officers taking part in the training courses to seize this opportunity.

"This is the first time Somali police have received professional training in the area of criminal investigations inside the country since the collapse of the central government and that is why I urge the officers participating in this current training to take advantage of this valuable opportunity," he said.

He said acquiring knowledge of criminal investigation procedures "contributes to restoring security and stability as well as reinforcing justice and respecting human rights effectively in Somalia".

Former police officers to return to duty
The Somali Police Force, in collaboration with AMISOM, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Political Office in Somalia, has launched a programme to recruit former police officers who want to re-join the service, said Captain Suleiman Ali Warsame, a former Somali police officer who recently returned to service.

Warsame said this initiative takes advantage of former police officers' expertise as the new police force is built.

"AMISOM is helping Somali police verify former police officers who want to return to service and take part in the ongoing plans to build the police force on new foundations commensurate with the new stage Somalia is going through," Warsame told Sabahi.

Since the collapse of the central government in 1991, many police officers left the force and went into other professions. Other officers immigrated, while a small number stayed in the country.

Warsame said AMISOM is assisting Somali police in verifying whether the former officers were involved in any human rights violations or crimes while they were out of the police service.

"Bringing back former police officers to serve will shorten the training period that is necessary before they report for duty because they can fall back on their previous police experience," said Makono, the AMISOM police commissioner.

He said that rebuilding the Somali Police Force will contribute greatly to achieving stability and maintaining security in the country. "This operation comes at a crucial time when national security is a top priority for the new government and its partners," he said.

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