DCAF’s EU-Funded Police Program Realizes Major Milestones in Strengthening Police Operations, Leadership, and Oversight

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In a significant boost to The Gambia’s Security Sector Reform (SSR) process, the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) has successfully completed a thirty-month project aimed at enhancing the efficiency and accountability of The Gambia Police Force (GPF). The project, funded by the European Union, has achieved substantial milestones, bringing about notable improvements in the GPF’s accountability, effectiveness, and operational capabilities.

At the heart of this transformative initiative was the development and integration of the Police Doctrine, which has now become a foundational document guiding the GPF’s operations and decision-making processes at all levels. The Doctrine, aligned with international standards, defines the vision, mission, values, and culture of the GPF and outlines the strategic intent and key themes for effective policing.

The successful integration of the Police Doctrine into police operations, decisions, and development, with cascading effects across all ranks and regions represents a key achievement. Demonstrating his commitment to the implementation of the Doctrine, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) toured the country to distribute and brief senior officers on the Doctrine, thereby ensuring its widespread adoption.

The impact of the Police Doctrine has extended beyond being only a reference document; it now forms an integral part of promotion criteria within the GPF. Moreover, all future GPF training, deployments and operational activities must align with the Doctrine, guaranteeing its continual relevance.

Improving police accountability and reporting in a comprehensive manner was another key element of the project. To this end, DCAF employed a multifaceted strategy, which involved creating tools for measuring performance and establishing Key Performance Indicators. Such an approach will lead to greater efficiency and best use of resources. Furthermore, the work on improving efficiency has extended to the review of deployment plans, thereby increasing operational effectiveness, and contributing to public safety.

Throughout the project, DCAF also worked with the Ministry of Interior, and the Standing Committee on Defence and Security (SCDS) of the National Assembly to provide them with the necessary skills and tools to better perform their respective responsibilities in relation to reporting. The work with the SCDS in particular will ensure greater capacity in undertaking their oversight function.  

Throughout the project’s implementation, DCAF collaborated closely with the Office of National Security (ONS) the online database of security sector legal and policy framework (https://security-legislation.gm/) managed by the ONS serves as evidence of this successful partnership. This user-friendly and interactive portal provides a one stop source for policies, legislations, and guidelines on the security sector. The database will improve access to documents for the general public, as well as for members of defence and security institutions, thereby assisting them in ensuring that their operations and decisions are in line with the rule of law.

Efforts have also focused on enhancing the quality of line management and supervision within the GPF, including the promotion of women in leadership roles. Leadership and management training were conducted at strategic, operational, and tactical levels. This was complemented by coaching, and innovative remote mentoring support with experienced international expertise, including dedicated mentoring support for female officers connected with senior police officers from the United Kingdom. The remote mentoring will provide valuable support to senior GPF officers and ensure a more effective and competent leadership cadre within the organization.

In summary, the DCAF-supported project has played a pivotal role in The Gambia’s SSR process, leading to remarkable achievements within the GPF. Integrating the Police Doctrine, improved resource allocation, enhanced accountability and strengthened leadership collectively mark a significant step towards a more efficient and effective police force in The Gambia.

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