Chief Superintendent Phillip Haynes

Kabul, October 2016. The Community Policing (Police-e-Mardome) Directorate of the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) invited the main stakeholders from all over the country for a three-day conference to evaluate the current state of community policing.

Community policing is mainly about establishing a continuous cooperation with people in order to seek and gain their trust” Phillip Haynes, head of EUPOL’s MoI Reform Component, outlined during the conference. “It is important for police officers to recognize that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect. Police officers should always consider themselves first to be member of the community they serve.”

EUPOL has supported the Afghan Government’s efforts to build civilian policing capabilities and enhance community oriented policing.

More than 50 members of Police-e-Mardome (PeM) Units including the provincial chiefs from 34 provinces were joined at the conference by their international colleagues from EUPOL and UNDP-LOTFA for discussions and sharing of best practices.

“It is the role of soldiers to follow military orders, whilst police officers should focus on progressing and guarding rule of law. They have to protect the communities they serve from harm.” Phillip Haynes, British chief superintendent, explained.

Community policing units work within the Afghan National Police since 2012. The units were equipped and trained by EUPOL advisers. Units have so far been established in Kunduz, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Herat, Helmand and Kabul. At the beginning of 2016 the Minister of Interior approved to expand the number of Community Policing Units from the existing eight to 20 units.

A focus on prevention, full respect of the rule of law as well as the cooperation between the police force and the community is the way forward. Afghanistan makes no exception in this regard.