PAP Plenary adopts a Model Policing LAW for Africa!

The Pan-African Parliament has adopted a Model Police Act that will present a guiding legal framework for policing in Africa. This framework is in line with the Constitutive Act of the African union, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other regional and international standards.

Chairperson of the PAP’s Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Hon. Ignatienne NYIRARUKUNDO said the underlying principle of the adopted Model Policing Law was to promote good governance, human rights, justice, peace and security on the African continent.

“This Model Law follows intense consultative processes and establishes a clear mandate of performance of Law Enforcement Agencies. It compels policing services to put in force principles of human rights, security and peace. It is an important Act that is meant to transform the police services into modern police that protects its citizens,” said Hon. Nyirarukundo.

President of the PAP. The Rt. Hon Roger Nkodo DANG said the crafting of this law was a step in the right direction for Africa, in line with the aspirations of the African people and addressing inherited colonial era defects.

“There is need for Africa to have such a law as the Police Services Acts put in place when our countries gained independence were flawed and most merely inherited those colonial era flaws. We need police services that respect democratic standards and are not used as tools for repression against our people,” said the Rt. Hon Nkodo Dang.

Hon. Pupurayi TOGAREPI from Zimbabwe hailed the adoption of the Model Police Act and said this has come timely, just as Africa gears up for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement that speaks to free movement of goods and people.

“The Model Law on Policing cannot be viewed in isolation. It is very much linked to the debate that we have undertaken in this House on the subject of free movement of goods and people. With the free movement of goods and people comes the risk of cross border crime which calls for water tight policing mechanisms. To this end, there is need for harmonization of laws to contain such crimes as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as illicit financial flows,” said Hon. Togarepi.

Hon. Togarepi also raised the pertinent issue of advancement in technology and urged African states to better equip policing units and provide training in technology so that they can deal with surging cases of cyber- crime.

“We are living in a technologically advanced world where cyber security has become an everyday headline. It is envisaged, therefore, that in implementing the Model Law, there is need for African-states to advance their ICTs in the policing sector so as to deal with modern day crime,” he submitted.

Hon. Alhagie S. DARBO from The Gambia also welcomed the Model Act Policing saying police on the continent are known for making citizens feel insecure and that this model would set acceptable uniform policing standards.

“This law could not have come at a better time than this because police in Africa need this uniform standard. Our police are known for making our citizens feel threatened instead of feeling secure and this Model Law could be a guiding force to instill this in our society. If this is followed to the letter, we will have a police service that serves our people,” said Hon Alhagie S. Darbo.

Members of Parliament flagged out the question of appointment of Police Chiefs and said it should not be linked to the Presidency.

“Political parties who are in power in Africa tend to confuse and oppress opponents using the police, therefore it becomes difficult to see the police as independent and fair. There is always the pertinent issue of who appoints the Police Chief, and this is usually the President in most countries, “said Hon Joseph Yieleh CHIREH from Ghana.

The model law seeks to address this anomaly so that the police service has its independence.

Hon. Chireh also called on African countries to go an extra mile and look into incentives for police, such as the latest technologies make their service delivery effective.

The Model police Act prescribes the role, functions and powers of the police service. It also has provisions that speak to the operational independence, conduct and independence and conditions of employment for police officers.