Trust between security forces and the population is essential for stability – this applies particularly at local level. One important factor in stabilising Iraq is therefore building up and strengthening a citizen‑friendly local police force which maintains security in close dialogue with local stakeholders. The German Government is providing financial support for this task to the tune of four million euros in 2016 and 2017. The projects are being implemented in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq.
A traumatised population
The civilian population in Iraq has had many traumatic experiences with various armed forces as a result of the ongoing violence in the country. The community policing concept is intended to create a basis for mutual respect and trust between the police and the population. The programme, developed by IOM, includes further training for police officers as well as for community representatives and members of civil society.
It also envisages an active role for women in the security sector. The IOM conducts some of its workshops in holding camps for internally displaced persons. Citizens and police officers are thus able to engage in direct dialogue even before they return to their home communities.
Germany hands over 24 police cars
The project also involves providing material support for the local police in the form of office equipment for question times with citizens in police stations, for example. In this context Oliver Schnakenberg, chargé d’affaires at the German Embassy, handed over 24 police cars to the newly established Community Policing Unit of the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior on 30 August, on the fringes of one of these workshops.
Oliver Schnakenberg welcomed the workshop participants and emphasised how vital the work of a citizen‑friendly local police force was, particularly in the communities that had only recently been freed from the clutches of the terrorist militia IS: “Security must first and foremost be experienced at local level. To this end, the local police force is the most important point of contact for the people. Close dialogue between the police and the population is a basic requirement for restoring the trust of the Iraqi people in their police in the liberated regions.”