Community police plays important role in democratic countries as they know how to deal with crimes in a particular community with support of locals. Local policemen or community police are posted at their home towns because they have familiarity with ways and lifestyle of locals. Therefore, positive role of local police force becomes essential when it comes to strengthening democracy in Afghanistan and winning public support.
However, in our country the role and performance of Afghan Local Police (ALP) came under discussion on several occasions, sometimes for their alleged involvement in crimes and failure to maintain law and order situation. Though, their performance mostly remained satisfactory but the government should not let the ALP to be struck by controversies.
This time, the residents of Jalrez district of Maidan Wardak province accused the local policemen of torturing and harassing civilians under different pretexts. The ALP commander rejected the allegations, but the government should launch probe because if public voices are not heard then there is no difference between the democratic system and totalitarian government. Democratic governments never use police force to intimate citizens because this gives local police force a bad reputation. It is necessary to establish the integrity of local police; otherwise the ALP will be seen as part of the problem rather than solution.
The government must provide the constitutional freedoms to the citizens while bringing essential reforms in the ALP. Local police and the respective community can truly work together if there was no trust deficit between the two. Trust between the two is imperative to work for the common good. The relevant authorities should ponder over the issue seriously because without public support the local police force would not be able to control crimes and fight militants. It is trust of the citizens that gives edge to local police in the fight against insurgency because local people provide the police with important information and help. Without this assistance, police force could not serve their communities in better manner and would not be able to gain legitimacy in the eyes of public. If the leaders want to improve and preserve security then the ALP should be directed to garner public support and secure the cooperation of local people.
Likewise, support of the local communities is also important to implement uplift schemes and prevent insurgents from taking shelters and launching attacks against government forces.
In order to garner public support, the government should deploy local policemen in the districts to which they belong. This will bridge the gap between the ALP and locals. If the relevant authorities continue to ignore importance of public support, this will give the militants an opportunity to achieve their nefarious goals as they did while attacking the ALP posts in Jalrez district on July 3. Further, the local policemen should be trained in public dealing. If they harass people, the government could not maintain law and order situation. Those policemen who are promoting discrimination and violating laws should be punished strictly. The public image of police does matter. Last but far from least, the government should allow the communities to monitor and control activities of police. This will increase effectiveness of the ALP.