Some 35 South Sudanese police officers in Western Equatoria were trained to control crowds in a peaceful and responsible manner by their UNPOL partners from UNMISS.
Building capacities among local counterparts is something United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers serving for peace in South Sudan are passionate about.
In Yambio, Western Equatoria, some 35 police officers from the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) recently attended a one-week riot control and management training facilitated by UNPOL officers serving with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMISS).
Participants included non-commissioned officers as well as enlisted members of the SSNPS.
One of the most vital things discussed at the workshop: Shortfalls in personnel and capacity to deal with policing issues related to women’s protection and rights.
“Such training opportunities are crucial for us as female police officers owing to two main reasons—firstly, we are as capable of dealing with law and order emergencies as our male counterparts, and secondly, we need more qualified women officers to handle cases that involve female suspects, ensure women inmates are treated with dignity and that women as well as girls from local communities trust us,” said Juana John Jass, a participating officer.
The training sessions focused on peaceful ways to handle any sort of mass gathering without using live bullets, torture or beatings; tips and tricks on crowd management; plus, negotiation skills and responsible handling of crowd dispersal instruments such as tear gas or batons.
“Protestors have rights; we, thus, learnt professional ways in which to control public demonstrations and disperse crowds through a non-violent approach,” revealed Corporal Ezbon Samuel Adala, Acting Director of the SSNPS training unit in Yambio. “Our job as police is to serve and protect people, whatever the circumstances, and I believe this initiative by UNPOL partners has genuinely enhanced our ability to deal with large-scale law and order situations where we will need to take a proactive but considered stand,” he added.
For Corporal Adala, upholding the rule of law is a collective responsibility. He stressed the need for greater trust and cooperation between the police and the populations they service, especially if elections are to be held on time as per the stipulations contained within the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Gloria Karikari, an UNPOL Team Leader with the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in the state agrees.
“Our job, as partners helping build durable peace in South Sudan, is to do everything we can to ensure that the national police is fully capable to support all peace efforts. Such trainings are, therefore, necessary and empower officers to trickle down their learning to colleagues on the ground, thereby multiplying overall benefits to both law enforcement personnel as well as communities. Preparedness is key for responsible policing,” she stated.
Participants were drawn specifically from officers who deal directly with detentions, arrests and riot management across Western Equatoria.