The Botswana police service has teamed up with the French Embassy in Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique to set up a regional peacekeeping training at Otse Police College. The training, which started on Monday, involves 80 police officials from the three countries, together with the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
Experts from the French national police and the Gendarmerie, all with a strong overseas deployment background, will supervise the training.
The French Gendarmerie Nationale is a military institution in charge of public safety with police duties among the civilian population. It’s both a military police and a provost force. With a staff complement of more than 100 000, the Gendarmerie works with the other national law enforcement agency, the Police Nationale.
The training is done according to UN standards. It will be based upon the simulation as close as possible to reality, of the various actual situations met in a peacekeeping deployment context. It will involve, among others, crowd control, convoy escorting, close protection, protection of official buildings, inter-community sports events, setting up of checkpoints, evacuation of nationals and protection of minorities.
“This training session is a direct follow-up to the first exercise, organised in April 2008, involving around four countries; Mozambique has joined from this year on,” said a communiqu├® from the French embassy.
Next year, the project will be upgraded and its scope extended to include an additional three Southern African Development Community countries. The plan is to make the training an annual event, widen the scope and funding of the SADC-based training exercises, and enable SADC to deploy its police officials effectively.
All trained officials will in turn become trainers, fully empowering all SADC police services with increased capacity to train, deploy and effectively address challenges raised by post-conflict situations in Africa. Other European Union member states are also expected to participate from next year going forward, further widening the scope of expertise.
A closing ceremony scheduled for December 4 will showcase the skills developed during the training in a multifaceted and evolving staged situation. Officials from the Police, Defence, Diplomatic and International Organisations will also be present.