Over 500 police personnel trained as Responders for South Sudan’s first Emergency Call Centre
The first Police Emergency Call Centre (ECC) in South Sudan has been established in the capital city of Juba by the Ministry of Interior- South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS), with support from the Ministry of Telecommunications, Juba City council, UNDP, Japan, GIZ and the private sector such as the mobile service providers - MTN, Zain, Vivacell and Gemtel.
The Centre is expected to start functioning very soon and will enable the public to directly contact police services by dialing 777, a toll free number, 24 hours, through any mobile service network.
The closing ceremony of the training graduated 534 police personnel (5 female and 529 male) on the different functions of the Emergency Call Centre (ECC). The Minister of Interior and Wild Life Conservation Honourable Lt. Gen. Aleu Ayieny Aleu, said, “This system is going to control criminal activities and we hope that the security situation in Juba will improve significantly. I thank all the partners, especially UNDP for its unflinching commitment and support.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Inspector General of Police, Hon. Pieng Deng Kuol expressed his thanks to UNDP and all partners for the successful implementation of the ECC project despite various challenges. Addressing the senior police leadership and trainees present during the ceremony, he said, “Now it is upon us to implement and rebuild the trust of the people. If we are not alert and responsive, we may not gain credibility. This is a challenging task but hard work is needed from our end for successful implementation. This can only happen if the police respondents at the Emergency Call Centre are vigilant and active.”
Hon. Major General Sebit Mekelele, Assistant Inspector General of Equatoria Region Affairs in his welcome address stated, “This is a unique example of coordination between the government, UNDP, development partners and the private sector. This is a pilot in Juba but in the future we will extend it to other states also.”
Representing the private sector Mr. Philip Besiimire, the Chief Executive Officer from the MTN mobile service assured full cooperation in making this important initiative successful. Appreciating the contribution of the service providers, Hon. Mr. Juma Stephen, the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunications exhorted the team spirit displayed by all the partners and hoped that the ECC would make a tangible difference in improving safety and security in Juba city.
Mr. Hakim Deng, Hon. Deputy Mayor of Juba City Council assured that the Council would soon start to put up road numbers in Juba to enable swift response by the Emergency Call Responders.
H.E. Peter David Schwake, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany expressed happiness that GIZ was able to be a part of this important public service and encouraged quick response in order to rebuild public trust in the police.
Thanking the Ministry of Telecommunication, all mobile service providers, Japan, GIZ and the City Council of Juba, Acting UNDP Country Director Mr. Mulugeta Abebe stated, “The December crisis tested the capacity of the South Sudan National Police Service to respond to public during emergency. Experience has shown that lack of established mechanism to enable the community to access the police service in times of need resulted in lack of trust between the police and the public. After the crisis, UNDP has reviewed its programmes to respond to the need for stabilization and early recovery. Towards that end, UNDP is happy to support the establishment of the first ever Emergency Call Centre in South Sudan. Successful training of police personnel is one more step towards the realization of our joint efforts to make Juba a safer city.”
The ECC training was conducted from 25 June - 5 July by SSNPS, UNDP and GIZ trainers. The training focused on receiving calls from the public, radio calls and emergency response to enable the trained personnel to respond to emergencies swiftly, professionally and effectively.
The ECC is being implemented within UNDP’s Access to Justice and Rule of Law Programme (A2JRoL) and aims to support the nationally-led process to strengthen the country’s rule of law institutions. The A2JRoL Programme in South Sudan is supported by the Governments of Japan, Netherlands and UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR).
Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP South Sudan, firstname.lastname@example.org