Even before the advent of The Gambia Police Force, a semblance of Community Policing has been in existence in The Gambia. The county’s cultural and traditional structures, norms and values encourage people to police themselves.
With the coming of The Gambia Police Force, Community Policing was seen as a tool to ensure that security prevails within the communities. The conceptualisation of Community Policing was rejuvenated with the advent of the Second Republic.
The Community Policing concept was formally kicked into motion in 2003 when The Gambia Police Force rolled out a project piloting the concept in certain communities with Farafenni as the project’s base. The bustling town worked directly with the police in making sure that community policing was nurtured within the community. A very vibrant committee was set up in Farafenni and until today community policy remains effective in the highly cosmopolitan town.
The Gambia Police Force has established Community Policing across the length and breadth of the country in the quest for sustainable peace and security in the piloted communities and the country at large.
Community policing has yielded a lot when it comes to maintaining security within communities, said ASP Lamin Njie, Police Public Relations Officer. “It also creates Police public partnership, through community policing, The Gambia Police Force established partnership with lots of communities.”
ASP Njie said most communities in The Gambia now appreciate what the police are doing as a result of the community outreach programmes the police embarked upon. “We showed them that the fact that security is provided by the Police does not entirely mean that it is the sole responsibility of the police; that the communities also have a responsibility in maintaining security.”
The police, according to their spokesperson, are able to establish a good partnership with the communities, saying this has helped create confidence in the police within the communities. The routine police dealings with communities have paid great dividends, says ASP Lamin Njie.
“Lot of crime detected and solved by the police today is due to the pivotal role played by community in ensuring that those crimes are averted.”
The Police PRO said there is the tendency for crime to be committed in communities, adding ‘’when communities come forward in giving information to police, it enables the police to solve cases. Community policing also helps secure convictions in cases at the courts.”
The police image maker argued that when cases are brought the before the courts, police need witnesses to come forward and give evidence so that the cases are prosecuted diligently and offenders brought to book.
“With community policing, people have confidence in the police. It also created support base partnerships. There are communities that chip in, in the form of resource mobilisation going as far as putting their resources towards the security of their communities.”
He cited Kuntaya as a classical example of a community that built and resourced their own police station whilst Firdaus and Old Jeshwang were also funded by individuals.
by Omar Wally