Over 30 Community Policing Fora (CPF) have been established across the country, as of the end of November 2016, through the International Organization for Migration’s Community Policing Programme, which aims to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between community members and law enforcement authorities.
By the end of 2016, IOM is looking forward to establishing four additional CPFs: one in Ramadi, Anbar governorate, two in Al-Qayara, Ninewa governorate, and one in Al Khalas, Diyala governorate. Building on IOM’s initiatives, local police across Iraq have independently established 13 additional CPFs, bringing the current total to 43 CPFs in Iraq.
“The IOM Iraq Community Policing Programme has a simple but ambitious goal: to bring together displaced Iraqis, host community members and police officers to enhance communication, address issues of concern to the community, and improve security through cooperation and information sharing.
The support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been instrumental to the Community Policing Programme reaching the milestone of 30 fora across Iraq,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Weiss. Through the Community Policing Programme, IOM has conducted 20 trainings and awareness campaigns and five workshops, reaching over 1,100 police officers, community members, and law enforcement, civil society and judiciary representatives.
The next trainings and workshops are planned for the beginning of December 2016. Laila is one of more than 350 community members who have received Community Policing trainings from IOM Iraq. She was displaced from Mosul with her siblings, and has been living in Erbil after being forced to flee her hometown in June 2014 as ISIL was approaching the city.
“I sometimes see situations that could be addressed by a Community Policing Forum. For instance, the presence of women in the Forum would allow other women to come forward and present their problems. It is easier to approach a community police officer than a regular police officer,” said Laila.
Furthermore, IOM provided equipment to support community policing, including vehicles and technical, security and communication equipment. Based on an agreement with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, IOM will adapt or build additional venues to make police stations more community friendly in the governorates of Salah al-Din, Anbar, Diyala and Ninewa and will build the Community Policing Department Headquarters in Baghdad.
In the framework of the first phase of the project, established in 2012 and supported by the U.S. Department of State, IOM built a network of community police and motivated stakeholders, provided expertise and organized trainings and community policing fora. The second phase, which started in the spring of 2016 and is funded by German Government, was designed to expand the project and systematically identify and address needs specific to Iraq, while ensuring the project is self-sustaining.
The initiatives in this phase have especially focused on areas newly retaken from ISIL. In order to enhance perceptions of peace and security in communities, IOM works on strengthening the capacity of the police, communities and civil society to prevent potential conflict from degenerating into crimes, and on promoting mediation. The Community Policing Programme is part of IOM Iraq’s integrated approach to community stabilization.
This entails a combination of bottom-up and top-down interventions; bottom-up, working with vulnerable communities, delivering a comprehensive stabilization package that addresses social services and basic infrastructure, security, social cohesion, and economic opportunities, and top-down, working with government authorities at all levels and providing technical support to develop appropriate operational systems and mechanisms in order to respond to the acute security situation in Iraq.