Community policing to ensure safety in IDP camps
People who flee their homes because of conflict want to stay where they feel safe even though this may come with traumatic experiences.
According to a local police officer in Wau town, the same people who seek refuge often end up involved in crime and violence. Since the conflict broke out in Wau town and the surrounding area in 2016, thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes and are now living in five collective sites such as the Cathedral, Nazareth, Lokoloko, St Joseph and Masaana. Many have also sought refuge and protection from UNMISS Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites.
“Our role as community police officers is to establish a good relationship with watch groups in the community, because without them we cannot achieve anything in these areas,” said Capt. Khalifa Mamur Fataki, Community Policing Officer with South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) in Wau town.
Finding people among the community who can partner with law enforcement agencies and instill the concept of community policing is a step forward to ensure a secure environment for vulnerable displaced people.
In an effort to build partnerships and strengthen community watch groups know-how of community policing, UNMISS in collaboration with SSNPS provided a three day training for 100 community watch groups who came from the five IDP collective sties.
Community partnership with police in this regard is key to proactively monitor crime and communicate to the police cases believed to endanger the safety of IDPs.
Capt. Khalifa said “Communities are responsible to look after their own vicinities; if they see something that is not good, they can contact us and we will immediately handle the case.”
“The training is also a way to build trust and foster a more secure environment for IDPs who voluntarily return home,” said UNPOL Wau PoC site Deputy Coordinator, Gordana Mitrovich.
Currently, some 20,000 people fleeing the conflict live in the five collective sites in Wau town. In addition, more than 30,000 people live in UNMISS PoC sites adjacent to the UN Camp.