Model police stations launched in Tunisia

05 Jun 2014

imageNew community-based policing policy adopted at inaugural opening as key part of security sector reform. Photo: UNDP in Tunisia

Hammamet, Tunisia – The first of six UNDP-supported police stations opened in Hammamet, Tunisia last week, part of a programme in support of security sector reform, financed by the Governments of Belgium, Japan and Norway. Five more are currently under construction or renovation.

The community-focused police stations will make it easier for citizens to interact with the police through such measures as separation of convicts and accused on one hand, and citizens needing administrative services on the other.

The stations are also equipped with modern monitoring equipment, holding cells and basic infrastructure that allows police officers to deliver services to the public more efficiently.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the pilot station, the Tunisian Minister in charge of Security, Ridha Sfar, also unveiled a new Ministerial Policy on Community Policing.

The policy, which was adopted following the findings of a working group set up by Tunisia’s Ministry of Interior, brings police officers closer to the population, allowing them to deliver quality services to citizens.

The concept of Community Policing reflects a working methodology that redefines the role of the police officer as an agent of change committed to listening to citizens, being aware of their concerns and encouraging them to take part in identifying and solving security problems.

In his speech, the Security Minister committed to scaling up the new station model across the country, emphasizing the importance of the new stations and the new Community Policing Policy as part of Tunisia’s security sector reform.

Also speaking at the ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative in Tunisia Mounir Tabet, underscored the importance of this reform as a main pillar of the transition towards democracy that Tunisia has been leading successfully since 2011.

“These model police stations represent a real transformational change both in terms of reception of citizens and working conditions for the security forces,” he said, adding that UNDP remained committed to completing the five other model stations.

The Minister and Resident Representative also thanked donors who contributed to funding the programme, including Japan, Belgium and Norway, and acknowledged further support from Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Security sector reform is one component of UNDP’s support for Tunisia’s democratic transition, which also includes support to the constitution, elections, transitional justice and anti-corruption measures.