A police officer surrounded by a group of women


Modern police stations in The Gambia

The small state in West Africa is setting an example for human rights-compliant policing – with police stations that meet international standards.

A police building in The Gambia

With four modern model police stations, the Gambia Police Force is taking a significant step towards democratic policing and thus demonstrating transparency and respect for citizens. Particularly in countries like The Gambia that have experienced political instability, democratic principles have a strong impact on policing.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been promoting police reforms in Africa on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office since 2009. This also includes newly built police stations financed by the European Union. These stations support the security sector in four regions in the Gambia. There was a particular focus on ensuring that the stations meet the minimum requirements for human rights.

‘Minors can now be questioned and detained separately,’ says a police officer at the new police station in Serekunda. A police unit dedicated to gender and child welfare also has its own rooms where victims of criminal offences can describe their experiences in a safe space. ‘It’s the best station in West Africa. We are proud to meet the UN standards.’

Building trust in the police

While the construction phase was underway, officers were trained in how to prevent sexual and gender-based violence. Further training was provided in areas such as forensics, searches and interrogation techniques. The Gambia wants to use the training and improved conditions to promote the rule of law and strengthen the population's trust in the police as an institution.

After years of authoritarian rule, The Gambia has experienced political change, including democratic elections and a peaceful transition of power. Reforming the security sector in The Gambia is now the next step, and the police are prepared for the challenges of their daily work.

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Foto von Anna Sophie Herken, Vorstandsmitglied der GIZ GmbH

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