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Aaron Weah

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J
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
17
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Aaron Weah
Interviewee's Position
National Program Assistant
Interviewee's Organization
International Center for Transitional Justice
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Liberian
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Aaron Weah, the national program assistant at the International Center for Transitional Justice, talks about police reforms in Liberia. He discusses the deactivation of the former national police and the process of recruitment, vetting and training. He explains that the new police force had a human rights component, and it accounted for equal geographical representation, that is, ethnic representation, to limit politicization.  Weah also identifies the challenges faced when carrying out the reforms, which included the presence of armed ex-combatants, inadequate logistics, police underpayment, lack of public confidence in the police and the issue of fewer women in the force. Based on a study he conducted, Weah advocates learning the best police practices from other countries, for instance, the development of police-military relations, collaboration between the security sector and the civil society, and the amalgamation of security institutions. 
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Aaron Weah was national program assistant at the International Center for Transitional Justice in Liberia. Before that, he worked for the Center for Democratic Empowerment. Initially, he was a research assistant and later, he became the program associate. He served as the focal person on the Security Sector Working Group, which was a coalition of leading civil-society organizations in Liberia that were committed to research and advocacy with the aim of guiding public policy processes on the reform of security agencies.  As part of the working group, he visited Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa to try to identify best practices in police reform. 

Full Audio File Size
50MB
Full Audio Title
Aaron Weah Interview

Benson Bana

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T
Focus Area(s)
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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Daniel Scher
Name
Benson Bana
Interviewee's Position
Senior Lecturer
Interviewee's Organization
University of Dar es Salaam
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzanian
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Benson Bana, a senior lecturer on public administration and human resource at the University of Dar es Salaam, discusses police internal management in Tanzania. He talks about the central focus areas of police reforms: community policing, professionalization and modernization. He stresses the need to define the organization’s core values so as to change people’s mindset and to attune the legal administrative framework and the Police General Orders to the set vision. Bana also notes the significance of human-resource planning. As part of the reform process, he recommends that police install human-resource management information systems to deal with such issues as staff acquisition, training and attrition. He also advocates the formation of a counseling unit to assure the police’s health and safety. In addition, Bana advises the police to set standards and to refine their performance management system so that it reflects modern methods. He highlights the significance of improved legal literacy among the public, support from political leadership, internal and external pressure and the overall demand for accountability and democracy in propelling police reforms. To promote growth and efficiency within the police force, Bana encourages public-private partnerships—provided that the assistance offered does not compromise the police’s integrity.     

Case Study:  Restoring Police Service with a Community Vision: Tanzania, 2006-2009

Profile

At the time of this interview, Benson Bana was a senior lecturer on public administration and human resource management for the Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania program at the University of Dar es Salaam. He also consulted and conducted research in the same fields. A Tanzanian citizen, Bana earned a doctorate from the University of Manchester in the U.K. He worked in the Tanzanian public service, and as a human resource training and development manager in a multinational company. 

Full Audio File Size
74MB
Full Audio Title
Benson Bana Interview

Douglas Irvine

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N
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Douglas Irvine
Interviewee's Position
Technical Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
Commission on Provincial Government of South Africa
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
South African
Town/City
Johannesburg
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Douglas Irvine, a technical adviser to the Commission on Provincial Government of South Africa, discusses the commission's work from 1994 to 1996.  He first locates the commission’s work in general debates on the provinces and local government at the time. He describes the challenges that the new provincial administrations confronted. He then talks about the composition of the commission and its advisory structures. Irvine explains how the commission advised the Constitutional Assembly on issues relating to the provinces and local government, and the key recommendations that the assembly included in the final constitutional text. He discusses the commission’s efforts to address the issue of traditional authorities and the introduction of the National Council of Provinces. He concludes by reflecting on the overall performance of the commission and its influence over other governmental organizations.    

Case Study:  Refashioning Provincial Government in Democratic South Africa, 1994-96

Profile

At the time of this interview, Douglas Irvine was a technical adviser to the Commission on Provincial Government of South Africa. He was also greatly involved in issues related to public management policy for the new state. Earlier, Irvine served as head of the Department of Political Studies and the dean of Social Science at the University of Natal. He took early retirement in 1996 to work in the field of applied development policy. In 2002, he joined the Small Business Project, a not-for-profit company based in South Africa, where he became the director of programs and research. 

Full Audio File Size
99MB
Full Audio Title
Douglas Irvine Interview

Astor Escalante Saravia

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M
Focus Area(s)
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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Flor Hunt
Name
Astor Escalante Saravia
Interviewee's Position
Vice Minister of Public Security and Justice
Interviewee's Organization
El Salvador
Language
Spanish
Nationality of Interviewee
El Salvadoran
Place (Building/Street)
Ministry of Public Security
Town/City
San Salvador
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Astor Escalante Saravia explains the internal development of the Ministry of Public Security in El Salvador, which oversees all pertinent branches, including the National Civil Police and the National Academy for Public Security.  He describes a multi-player approach to institutional reform that involves the National Council on Security and Peace, UNDP, and a number of NGOs that specialize in crime prevention and rehabilitation for former gang members.  While recent reforms have been successful, he says, lack of resources remains a challenge. Concerning the National Civil Police, Saravia identifies three areas for improvement. The first has to do with the failure of the current model to insulate police officers who work within their own communities from risks and ties to the criminals that operate in the same turf. The second critical issue involves corruption.  He emphasizes the role of perception, and highlights the large impact of small measures like changing the uniforms of the Transit Police to increase accountability.  The third issue concerns proper police conduct and the problem of police brutality, which he says is being addressed nationwide by virtual training based on case studies.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Astor Escalante Saravia was El Salvador's vice minister of public security and justice, a post he held since 2006.  He was the director of the penitentiary system in 2005, after working for eight years in the National Public Prosecutor’s office as a prosecutor and chief prosecutor.  Previously he served as an adviser to the Ministry of Government, which oversaw the security sector until the Ministry of Public Security was created with a mandate to govern the police and associated agencies.

Full Audio File Size
72MB
Full Audio Title
Astor Escalante Saravia Interview

Sifuni Mchome

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T
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
7
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Daniel Scher
Name
Sifuni Mchome
Interviewee's Position
Dean, Faculty of Law
Interviewee's Organization
University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzanian
Place (Building/Street)
University of Dar es Salaam
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract
Sifuni Mchome, the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, talks about his involvement in the country's police reform program. Together with a colleague from the university, he discusses how they embarked on rewriting the Police General Orders, which instruct the police on conduct, in order to make the orders more useful in the changing field of law enforcement. The initial document lacked operative principles, it was not up-to-date with the law, it contradicted the Bill of Rights, and it lacked clear instructions on how to conduct an arrest. Mchome also explains the challenges of implementing the reforms, which included logistical problems, limited human and financial resources, the law's lack of guidance on how police power and functions should be discharged, and the absence of a configured law enforcement system to promote intelligence-led policing through the cooperation of entities like the police force, the prisons, and the courts. Through a modernization drive, Mchome describes efforts to empower the police, to retool and to provide new techniques for dealing with increasingly sophisticated criminals.  An independent directorate was created under the Ministry of Home Affairs to monitor the police force and to deal with complaints collection.
 
 
Profile
At the time of this interview, Sifuni Mchome was the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. He previously worked in the Department of Civil and Criminal Law, with a specialty in criminal justice. Mchome previously was involved in policing. He participated in a program run by the Legal Aid Committee of the Faculty of Law, University of Dar Es Salaam, which involved training police officers and prison and judicial officials. 
Full Audio File Size
51MB
Full Audio Title
Sifuni Mchome Interview

Doug Coates

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B
Focus Area(s)
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2
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Doug Coates
Interviewee's Position
Superintendent
Interviewee's Organization
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Canadian
Town/City
Ottawa
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Doug Coates, the director of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police International Peace Operations program, recounts his experiences and lessons learned in building effective international and indigenous policing capacity.  Drawing on his experiences in Haiti from 1993 to 1995, where he served as a regional commander with the United Nations Mission to Haiti, Coates describes the challenges associated with the effective vetting, recruitment, and training of police services.  He notes that training and professionalizing local and national police forces, particularly in a country without a strong foundation in formal policing, necessitates taking into account the local context and community needs.  Coates also discusses the current efforts of the RCMP to develop a more rigorous predeployment international police-training program.  He stresses that support for police participation in international peace operations requires recognition of the fundamental linkages between domestic and international security concerns.  He argues that the international community “has to invest and invest for the long term” to strengthen police services to deal “with the challenges associated to maintaining law and order in the 21st century.”    

Profile

Doug Coates began his involvement in international policing in 1993 as a member of the United Nations advance team to the U.N. Mission to Haiti.  He then served as a regional commander in Haiti’s Grand'Anse region, where he was responsible for the development of policing services, training of the (at that time) interim security force, and maintenance of law and order throughout the region.  From 1996 to 2001, Coates managed the peacekeeping department of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including the management of a mission in Haiti and the deployment of Canadian police to peacekeeping operations around the world.  He then served as the director of police programs and as chief operating officer to the Pearson Peacekeeping Center, a private, nongovernmental organization based in Ottawa; in that capacity, he was involved in the development and implementation of military police and civilian programming.  At the time of the interview, Coates served as the director of the RCMP’s International Peace Operations program.  His international experience in international policing included Haiti, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; he also worked on police capacity-building programs in Africa.  Coates died in the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where he was serving as the acting police commissioner for the U.N. Stabilization Mission.


Full Audio File Size
88 MB
Full Audio Title
Doug Coates - Full Interview

Peter Miller

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B
Focus Area(s)
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5
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Peter Miller
Interviewee's Position
Police Commissioner
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Canadian
Town/City
Ottawa
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Peter Miller draws on his experience in East Timor to highlight the challenges of building a domestic police force. He stresses that reformers must resist pressures to politicize the police by hiring unqualified friends of elected officials. Miller also mentions the difficulties posed by donor countries that press for fast action in order to minimize their costs. He says such pressures often produce domestic police forces that are inadequately prepared to take over when interim police units withdraw, as was the case in East Timor. Miller also is critical of the quality of many of the international police officers from contributing countries, especially those without a strong tradition of community policing. He calls for greater investments in the training of police officers before they are deployed, as well as in situ training of citizens. 
Profile

Peter Miller served with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 35 years, during which we worked mainly in international police peacekeeping. Under United Nations auspices, he served as deputy commissioner of operations and training in Haiti, police commissioner for the United Nations in Western Sahara and later as police commissioner in East Timor. In Western Sahara, Miller had police officers from 10 countries under his command and in East Timor he oversaw a police force of 3,000 officers including both local and international police. After retiring from the RCMP, Miller worked with the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, a Canadian nonprofit organization, on capacity building in Africa related to peacekeeping operations.

Full Audio File Size
78 MB
Full Audio Title
Peter Miller - Full Interview

Keith Biddle

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A
Focus Area(s)
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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Gordon Peake
Name
Keith Biddle
Interviewee's Position
Retired
Interviewee's Organization
British police
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
English
Town/City
Cheshire, Manchester
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Retired British police officer Keith Biddle recounts lessons learned from working on police reform programs in diverse contexts, including in Sierra Leone, where he headed the police force from 1999 to 2004, and in Somalia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Biddle discusses the challenges of effective information gathering in police force vetting and recruitment. He emphasizes that recruitment is a community- and school-based process that should not be rushed. He goes on to discuss his experience in Sierra Leone in determining whether to recruit rebels into the police force and describes the types of challenges countries have faced in building more professional and meritocratic police forces. Next, Biddle discusses the importance of effective organizational structures to lead the police and cautions that efforts to recruit new talent may be futile to the extent that new officers enter a corrupt structure with the “wrong ethos.” Training programs, he states, should be developed in-house, with regard to context and existing skills, knowledge, and staff capacity, and include topics such as human rights, anti-corruption, and enforcement standards. Effectively combating corruption, Biddle posits, requires making the police vocation “valuable” in terms of reputation and fringe benefits. Ultimately, Biddle notes, police reform is “part of good governance” and must receive support from the highest levels of government. While police reform may be costly, he concludes, post-conflict countries cannot be expected to more forward without sustainable and effective police forces.    

Case Study:  Building Strategic Capacity in the Police: Sierra Leone, 1998-2008

Profile

At the time of this interview, Keith Biddle was a consultant on police reform efforts in Africa and a retired officer of the British police. He became involved in international police reform in 1994 as a member of the British police force, in which capacity he served as deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police and later as assistant inspector of the Constabulary in the Home Office. In 1994, he became the policing adviser to South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission in advance of Nelson Mandela’s election. Following his work in South Africa, Biddle began to work with the U.K. Department for International Development on issues involving police reform, including in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa. Between 1999 and 2004, while working with the United Nations under DFID, Biddle headed the police force in Sierra Leone. He subsequently worked on police reform projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, and continued to be involved in police reform efforts in Africa.

Full Audio File Size
178 MB
Full Audio Title
Keith Biddle Interview

Benjamin Cestoni

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M
Focus Area(s)
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2
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Flor Hunt
Name
Benjamin Cestoni
Interviewee's Position
Acting Director
Interviewee's Organization
National Academy for Public Security, El Salvador
Language
Spanish
Nationality of Interviewee
El Salvadoran
Town/City
San Salvador
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Benjamin Cestoni describes the recruitment procedures employed by El Salvador's National Academy for Public Security.  Every three months, the process begins with a national recruitment announcement, a sequence of five qualifying exams that apply appropriate standards for both male and female potential cadets, personal interviews, and a vetting process that involves background checks within the recruits’ communities.  Cestoni identifies the financial burden associated with foregoing salaried employment while at the academy as a challenge for both recruitment and completion of training.  The effectiveness of each recruitment round depends on the agricultural seasons, and there is a high drop-out rate due to cadets finding paid employment.  The main incentive to join the academy is the prospect of long-term job stability, but Cestoni says the promotion system must be improved.  He underscores the success of recruitment of women, whose enrollment increased from 4% to 7%.  He identifies areas of present and potential coordination with the National Civil Police.  First, a recent curricular shift at the academy favors hands-on, skill-intensive training over theoretical instruction, which necessitates the cooperation of the police.  Second, there is constant feedback between the two institutions, so that training workshops are developed in response to the needs of acting officers.  This process resulted in great improvement in the area of investigations.  Nonetheless, Cestoni points to a need for coordinated follow-up on students after graduation, to consolidate assessment of each officer’s career progress.  Cestoni attributes academy modernization to the support offered by the international community, especially from Spain, France and the United States.  His most important suggestion for cost-efficient cooperation is for donors to emphasize deployment of trainers to the host country over inviting trainees to donor countries.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Benjamin Cestoni was the acting director of the National Academy for Public Security in El Salvador, a position he had held since 2006.  A lawyer by training, he worked at the Attorney General’s Office for 12 years and was appointed as the executive director of the Commission for Human Rights under President Álvaro Magaña in 1982.  He subsequently served as the presidential commissioner for human eights during the administrations of presidents José Napoleón Duarte and Alfredo Cristiani.  His political career began when he was appointed as President Armando Calderón’s personal secretary.  Cestoni was then elected as deputy to the Central American Parliament, and served as minister of transportation.

Full Audio File Size
79 MB
Full Audio Title
Benjamin Cestoni Interview

Brian Dobrich

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P
Focus Area(s)
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21
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nicolas Lemay-Hebert
Name
Brian Dobrich
Interviewee's Position
Director, Strategic Information Department
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Police, East Timor
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Australian
Place (Building/Street)
National Police Headquarters
Town/City
Dili
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Brian Dobrich describes his role in the United Nations mission in Timor-Leste, where he was serving at the time of the interview. He describes how the U.N. police initially mentored the National Police of Timor-Leste on how to conduct investigations. In the first half of the interview, he explains how the U.N. dealt with crime in the districts and with the problem of gangs in the capital, Dili. In the second half, he talks about the internal workings of such U.N. missions, including problems of inefficiency, rigidity and bureaucracy. He also offers advice on how to build good relations with the local police force.
Profile
At the time of this interview, Brian Dobrich was a member of the Australian Federal Police, dealing mainly with frauds against the government, narcotics, and counter-terrorism. His latest overseas mission was in Timor-Leste, working for the United Nations to restore law and order and to ensure security and policing in Dili, following fighting between the Timorese military and the police. At the time of the interview, he was director of the Strategic Information Department  for the U.N. police mission in Timor-Leste. He served with the U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus in 1981 and with UNPOL in 1997. These assignments were followed by service with the U.N.Transitional Administration in Timor-Leste in 2001 and two non-U.N. missions in the Solomon Islands.
Full Audio File Size
69MB
Full Audio Title
Brian Dobrich Interview