Somaliland: A Failing Police Force Amidst Poor Leadership
By Ahmed Kheyre
The Somaliland Police Force was once a bastion of integrity, honesty, bravery and professionalism. The service in which all Somalilanders have always placed great deal of trust is failing. It is failing as a result of dire leadership at the top.
The service which was rebuilt from scratch after the reclamation of independence has never been in a poorer state. Despite the assistance and training from the UNDP, advice and consultancy from former senior Somaliland officers, as well as,experts from advance services including the United Kingdom and the European Union, the standard of the service appears to be deteriorating.
In the past few years there have been several incidents of police brutality, corruption and malfeasance. Despite the training offered at various training centres both at home and abroad, the calibre of new recruits is getting markedly worse. The officers in the force are unable to exercise leadership, and follow the laws of the land. Whilst the ordinary constables are more interested in graft and using their authority to make money. The situation has reached a critical stage recently as the results of two deaths at the hands of the Somaliland Police. Two young men, one a nine year old boy and another young man under arrest at a police station.
The current state of violence with regard to the Somaliland Police Service is not a one way street. Tragically several officers lost their lives in the line of duty. It is no secret that the proliferation of small arms at the hands of ordinary citizens is a serious problem in Somaliland, but, the absence of sound judgement by several serving Somaliland Police Officers only makes matters worse.
At the end of the day the Somaliland Police Force Commander, Abdillahi Fadal Iman, must be held accountable for the worsening policing situation in Somaliland. The commander must understand that the Police Force has to be independent from the incumbent administration. Granted that the chain of command goes through the Somaliland ministry of Home Affairs; However, the Police Force must remain at an arms length from the incumbent administration. The commander is not the aide de camp to President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo”.
But, that is just a small aspect of a larger problem. Like all developing nations, Somaliland faces many difficulties , keeping the rule of law whilst serving and protecting the citizens of the country is paramount for its police service. We must not have any more shoot first, asks questions later situations. The use of lethal force must always remain the last resort.
The Somaliland Police Force needs new leadership and new ideas. We have had countless officers trained both at home and abroad. We have experienced and wise consultants at hand. We need restore the people’s faith and trust in the Somaliland Police Force.