Police structures in Cameroon are strengthened

Project description

Project title: Programme to Build and Strengthen the Police Structures in Selected Partner Countries in Africa - Country Component Cameroon 
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Cameroon
Lead executing agency: General Delegation for National Security (GDNS)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022

Cameroon. Practising taking fingerprints. © GIZ

Context

Since 2009, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been promoting police reform processes in Africa on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office. The programme is currently implementing a total of eleven country and regional measures. All selected partner countries and regions show characteristics of fragile statehood to varying degrees.

For a long time, Cameroon was regarded as one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. However, attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram are especially prevalent in the north of the country, while the Southwest and Northwest regions – both English-speaking – are seeing clashes between separatists and the military and security services. The eastern part of the country, meanwhile, is suffering from the ongoing instability in the Central African Republic, with groups of rebels crossing the border sporadically. Cameroon is also affected by illegal cross-border trade in valuable goods such as wild animals, timber, minerals and arms, as well as human trafficking.

Public trust in the state law enforcement authorities is being undermined as they are not succeeding in fighting corruption or creating a secure environment. Insufficient cooperation between the police and the public means that the state has little capacity to control crime, as reflected in high crime rates but low clearance rates.

Objective

The Cameroonian police is contributing to national and regional stability and regaining the trust of the population. 

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Approach

 The project is supporting the criminal investigation agency in Cameroon to scrutinise crimes more professionally and thus increase clearance rates. Cooperation between the police and other actors in the criminal justice system is to be enhanced, with a particular focus on strengthening the police internal complaint procedure, which deals with officer misconduct to increase public trust in the national security service. 

The project is developing the processes with the partner institution, the General Delegation for National Security (GDNS). These are based on existing national or international strategies and standards and focus especially on human rights in police work and gender equality. The partner, GDNS, is also given support in infrastructure and equipment, basic and advanced training, and organisational advice.

Results

The project has already contributed to an improvement in the performance of the border police in Cameroon. Building border posts and training border guards has increased the level of professionalism in the work being done. People living near the border are now demonstrably more satisfied. Moreover, transnational organised crime is being combated more effectively as border police have been trained in searching for drugs and in anti-terrorism measures. 

In addition, the programme has successfully supported the criminal investigation agency in Cameroon, with in-service training, use of the fingerprint database and the targeted deployment of forensics specialists, all helping to improve performance capacity. Investigative work is now being done more professionally, in compliance with the law and in accordance with international standards.

Latest update: October 2020

Cameroon. Group photo of participants in a training course. © GIZ

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