Thepilot Democratic Policing was initiated in September 2009. In the first quarter of 2010 while civil society groups and the Ministry of Interior were introduced to the philosophy and on ground work was implemented with police, community groups and local governance councils. In the second and the third quarter the concept was widely discussed within the MOI, international community and civil society to gauge views and opinion. The concept has been accepted as Police e Mardumi across both Ministry of Interior, Civil Society, local people in pilot districts and Herat and International community as it elaborates on civilian policing mechanisms. However it took several rounds of discussions in 2010 to bring the philosophy and the ideology with its activities to be recognized at the level of the MOI and within the international community. At present there is international commitment from NTM‐A, Canada and SDC to take the efforts forward with UNDP.
While in early 2010 partnerships with EUPOL were limited although several rounds of discussions had taken place, in the last quarter more coordinated work and partnerships have fructified with the common agenda of setting in place civilian policing mechanisms verses replying exclusively on the Counter Insurgency strategies.
The Pilot which was implemented through most of 2010 and started with a modest initiative of 450,000 USD which was further enhanced to 1,018,494.00 USD. What started as a small scale effort in 2010 across 8 districts is at present been expanded to 20 districts across 3 provinces with a commitment of donor funding of approximately 9 Million USD for 2011.
The Pilot project was reviewed at two levels in mid 2010 viz. by all stakeholders ‐ civil society trainers and implementers, concerned units of MOI associated with Police e Mardumi. The Pilot was reviewed by the project implementers with impact assessment reports and SWOT analysis. Experts from Regional Centre Bangkok also participated at this meeting. Further in August 2010 experts from Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery reviewed activities under Democratic Policing after detailed discussions with donors, police experts in Afghanistan, civil society and MOI leadership and noted that the Pilot has provided UNDP great potential to engage in this area in the next few years and should be a pillar within the LOTFA to provide the substantive engagement in the police sector reforms process for the country. After analysis the Pilot has expanded to 20 districts and also initiated the establishment of the Kandahar Regional Crisis Response Centre a hotline service similar to the 119 Centre at MOI.
During this period the cluster based approach was implemented and strategic engagements were undertaken with the National Area Based Development Programme, Afghanistan Sub National Governance Programme, Gender Equality Project, and Afghanistan New Beginnings
Programme, National Disaster Management Project thereby leveraging existing networks, resources etc projecting that police e mardumi is not an isolated intervention but is a part of a comprehensive development package that UNDP is able to provide for overall peace, stability in Afghanistan.
Role of any police is to establish relations with the public, protect citizens against violence, and work as a component of the criminal justice system. At present although the government has high commitment towards establishing police and community relationship as per the National Police Plan 1389, yet it does not mention any mechanism on how to undertake this process. The strategies under Democratic Policing provides extensive police and community relations for the cities, towns, and villages with the purpose of enforcing rule of law combined with an elaborate public awareness program of their rights and duties which will reinforce the MoI’s role to build legitimacy. Capacity development and education of the police, public, media, policy makers, and civil society are vital components of the process.
As the MOI is aware that there is vacuum and lack of police and public coordination, in early 2009 it had requested the UNDP to prepare a strategy paper on community policing. The UNDP had appointed an international consultant to prepare a national strategy. Discussions were held with multiple stakeholders to gather their views before arriving on a strategy which was further discussed in September 2009 both at the level of the MOI and with multiple stakeholders prior to the launching of the Pilot activity components.
The concept of Democratic Policing covers both the security sector as well as the Rule of Law and Human Rights as covered under the ANDS. The Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), envisions a professional, disciplined and reinvigorated police force that is responsible and loyal to MoI, widely visible to and respected by the public, capable of protecting human rights, as well as fighting insurgency and drug trafficking. This component of the vision of the Government of Afghanistan is further expressed in the Country Programme Action Plan of UNDP where efforts are ongoing for government and state institutions responsible for security and the maintenance of the rule of law are better empowered ensuring long term sustainability. Under the visions and benchmarks to realize these goals, the Pilot Democratic Policing endorses and makes the established goals a reality by bridging the gap between the police, the ordinary people and the governance institutions creating an opportunity for the people to not only access the first rung of the criminal justice system but also to build up a process to bring people into the fold of the justice system. The Pilot engages in processes which will establish the rule of law, ensure due process and uphold human rights of people which together will also uphold human security at the local level.
Therefore, the Pilot works with a multitude of community level stakeholders and law enforcement and local governance councils so that the traditional decision making process engages in a way which has linkages with the formal justice institutions making people realize the virtues of a stable, peaceful state/institutions.