Strengthening of Police Structures
Title: Strengthening of Police Structures in the Palestinian Territories (Phase III)
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Palestinian Territories
Lead executing agency: Palestinian Authority (PA); Palestinian Ministry of Interior (MoI); Palestinian Civil Police (PCP)
Overall term: 2016 to 2018
The Palestinian people are seeking to create their own sovereign state comprising the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. In November 2012, the United Nations voted to raise Palestine’s status to that of a non-member observer state.
Germany, which supports a two-state solution, is in favour of resolving the conflict through negotiation. However, in order for the autonomous Palestinian National Authority to successfully engage in such negotiations, Palestinians must be able to ensure peace and security under democratic rule within their recognised borders. Of key importance here is the establishment of a reliable civil police infrastructure and accountable security authorities. Germany’s contribution to the establishment a civil police force was reaffirmed in 2008 at the Berlin Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law. In the years that followed, it was subsequently fleshed out in detail at various meetings held by the German-Palestinian Steering Committee.
The Palestinian police force operates to professional standards. Its approach is community-oriented and in accordance with the principles of the rule of law. The police force ensures public safety and order while respecting human rights.
During the initial phase (2010–2012), the programme and its Palestinian partners co-developed a standardised plan to build and equip community police stations. On completion, this plan was subsequently used to construct four stations in Jenin Governorate and a mock police station for training purposes in Jericho. Since then, other donors have also used this plan as a blueprint for the construction of more police stations in the West Bank.
From 2013 to 2015, the programme focused on the efficient and sustainable organisation and use of the new police stations. In close project-partner cooperation, an organisational model was developed to ensure all the stations operate professionally. In addition, an EU co-financing arrangement facilitated the construction and outfitting of eight more local police stations in the north and south of the West Bank.
Since 2016, the community policing approach has been continued and expanded. Following a successful pilot phase in Jenin Governorate, the police force is undergoing training as part of the transfer of the community-oriented model to all existing local police stations in the West Bank. This organisational model will also be a standard feature of all future stations. The focus is on developing resources and building capacity to enable the national police headquarters to implement this process independently. There are also plans to adapt the organisational model to stations located at the city and district level.
Meanwhile an initiative launched between November 2016 and April 2017 in the district of Tulkarem has for the first time operated a mobile police station, with the objective to increase police presence in remote communities. After this successful test phase, the roll-out of newly designed vehicles to other West Bank districts has started. The mobile stations make for better police access and visibility, especially in areas where the Palestinian Authority has only limited autonomy. The upshot is a heightened sense of public safety and better police services in these places.
The Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) is able to apply the standardised community-oriented organisational model to all police stations in the West Bank while innovative mobile police stations enable community policing in remote areas, too.
The PCP now operates more professionally and delivers more citizen-oriented services. Police officers have undergone training enabling them to adopt a more professional approach to victims of violence and crime, and to women victims in particular. Government security forces are now viewed more positively, especially in rural areas and people have developed greater trust in their police force. Furthermore, activities are underway to promote a constructive relationship between state and society; for example, agreements with municipal representatives are helping to strengthen police-citizen relations.
A police force that conducts itself professionally and in accordance with the rule of law will benefit the population in the medium to long term, improving their policing and security situation.