Police Programme Africa – Côte d’Ivoire

Project description

Title: Police programme Africa – supporting police reform processes in Côte d’Ivoire
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Côte d‘Ivoire
Lead executing agency: Police National de Côte d’Ivoire (PNCI)
Overall term: 2009 to 2018

Côte d’Ivoire. In a forensics laboratory. © GIZ

Context

Following the cessation of years of conflict between government troops and rebels, the Ivorian Government has committed itself since 2011 to the difficult task of restoring unity to the country, reconciling the divided society, and reforming the security sector.

The national security institutions lack the structural and human resources capacity to provide adequate protection to the population. There is on average only one police officer per 1,300 people. The police reform strategy put forward in 2013 and approved by the government in 2015 now needs to be implemented. As part of these reform efforts, there are plans to restructure the police force, for example by amalgamating the forensics and criminal investigations departments. This will involve harmonising procedures, documentation, human resources management and internal communications. The reform is also intended to increase the presence of the criminal investigations department in rural areas. New challenges are also arising in this area, which the Ivorian police force is unable to tackle alone.

After overcoming past crises, Côte d’Ivoire is particularly keen to step up its involvement in the security sector at regional level, which will include greater engagement in networking activities. This ambition ties in with the Ivorian Government’s ‘Emergence 2020’ strategy, which it adopted in 2013.

Objective

The Ivorian criminal investigations department is recognised and its services are in demand in the West Africa region as a result of its increased capacity and forensics expertise. The population benefits from greater legal certainty as a result of better case clear-up rates and has more confidence in the capabilities of the police force.

Côte d’Ivoire. Police station in Abidjan. © GIZ

Approach

Since 2009, GIZ has been implementing a programme on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office to support police reform processes in Africa. In its current phase, the Police Programme Africa is working with selected national and regional police institutions, an immigration authority, the AU and regional organisations in order to improve internal management processes and basic training. The programme is also enhancing specialist and technical knowledge in specific areas such as forensics in order to tackle transnational organised crime and strengthen border security. In addition, it is helping to increase the regional coordination of police services.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the programme is currently supporting efforts to integrate the forensics department into the criminal investigations department. It provides advice to the Ivorian police force on implementing the reforms and organises meetings at which the relevant departments can share information. In order to professionalise forensics work in rural areas too, the programme assists with training in these regions and supplies equipment for forensic investigations.

The Police Programme is supporting efforts to optimise procedures, functions and strategies both within and outside the central forensics laboratory with a view to enabling it to conduct analyses and deliver calibration services in line with international standards. The laboratory’s management team is receiving assistance in the form of process advice, training and information-sharing events. Dialogue is also being encouraged with other certified laboratories in Abidjan. The laboratory workers are being trained in the use of high-end lab equipment and in methods for analysing drugs, pharmaceuticals, narcotics and fire accelerants.

Efforts are being made to convert the police forensics laboratory into a regional centre for forensic expertise which can be called upon as required to assist with the investigation of serious crimes in neighbouring countries. To this end, the Police Programme helps the central police laboratory to network at regional level and organises meetings for experts to exchange information with other specialists in West and Central Africa. Additionally, a regional intervention group is being created for the purposes of securing evidence. The group will be available to support all West African states, Interpol and AFRIPOL.

The establishment of a professional criminal investigations and forensics department will ensure that evidence is gathered in accordance with international standards and can be relied on in legal criminal proceedings. This greater legal certainty will boost the confidence of the population in the work of the police in the long term.

Côte d’Ivoire. Forensic officers at work. © GIZ

Results

Forensic investigation procedures have been incorporated into the curriculum of the national police academy and are now an integral part of police training. The forensics laboratory has been supplied with equipment for securing evidence, and staff have received training on how to use it. As a result, the forensics department is now able to work professionally and in accordance with international standards. The central register of suspects and detainees has also been updated to enable the police to compare fingerprints throughout the country.