Police programme Africa – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Title: Police programme Africa – supporting police reform processes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lead executing agency: Commissariat Général de la Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC)
Overall term: 2009 to 2018
Corruption, human rights violations and mismanagement make the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) one of the world’s most fragile states. Poor governance, a large geographic area and inadequate infrastructure hamper the government in asserting its monopoly on the use of force in a citizen-centred manner. In the east of the country especially, where rebel groups operate with financial support from neighbouring countries, the security situation is tense. Cross-border crime presents the security authorities with additional, new challenges. Neither the government nor the UN peace mission MONUSCO has been able to tackle these challenges adequately. Sexual violence against women and children is a major issue in the DRC, where rape is used as a weapon against the population.
The national police force is not in a position to meet these challenges or fulfil its duty to ensure the safety of the population. The inefficient state apparatus is being restricted in its ability to function properly by nepotism and patronage systems. Security forces throughout the country are inadequately paid and heavily fragmented, and there is a general lack of commitment and sense of duty on the part of individual police forces, to the detriment of the population.
Although the reform unit set up within the General Commissariat has been pushing ahead intensively and with great motivation with police reforms since 2011, the unit lacks skilled staff, equipment and mobility. The shortcomings in equipment and training are considerable in some parts of the country compared with the capital. Poor infrastructure and the size of the country make communication and networking between local offices and the General Commissariat more difficult.
The national police force in the DRC is strengthened at national and provincial level, enabling it to conduct its criminal investigation work and efforts to combat sexual violence against women and children more effectively. The force also increasingly conducts investigations at international level.
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.
Efforts to reform the police force internally are being stepped up at national and, increasingly, also provincial level. To this end, the Police Programme is providing particular support to the criminal investigations department in the form of advisory services, training and equipment.
Closer cooperation between forensics services and the judiciary should ensure that evidence is handled more professionally, thereby increasing legal certainty in the DRC.
There is also a focus on fighting cross-border crime, especially in the fragile east of the country. Greater regional cooperation is fundamental to the effectiveness of police work – particularly that of the criminal investigations department – in the fight against cross-border crime. With this in mind, the programme has established a pilot project with the Congolese police force at national level and with the police force of North Kivu province to improve coordination with neighbouring countries in this area.
As part of a project cofinanced by the EU, the police force is receiving support with combating and preventing sexual and gender-based violence. Ongoing work to strengthen these special units aims to ensure that cases of sexual violence are solved professionally throughout the country and that perpetrators are handed over to the jurisdiction of the state.
An efficient, transparent and service-oriented police force is expected to be capable of ensuring the safety of the population, which is a key requirement for achieving sustainable development. In the long term, the professionalisation of the police force should serve to increase public confidence in the police as a service institution.
The Police Programme has strengthened the Congolese police force at central and provincial level, helping to professionalise police work. Thanks to the introduction of modern technology, data on suspects is available both in the capital and in remote areas of the country. Cooperation between the criminal investigations department and the public prosecutor’s office has also been stepped up in recent years, ensuring that public prosecutors are now better acquainted with criminal investigation methods and that evidence used in court is increasingly scientifically robust. After receiving relevant support, special units combating violent crime against women and children are now able to solve cases of sexual violence and hand over perpetrators to the jurisdiction of the state.