United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Access to Justice project has held meetings with the leadership of South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) to discuss the need to sensitize and create awareness on COVID-19, and to adapt response strategies and guidelines across commands, formations, and barracks to mitigate the spread of the disease.
In a joint meeting chaired by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Lt. Gen. James Pui Yak Yiel, Deputy Inspector General of Police , both UNDP and SSNPS agreed on several measures on border control and securing public order, as well as the role of law enforcement in contributing to the effort to control the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Deputy IGP expressed the need to provide materials and instructions that will be sent out to all states, police stations, and posts to raise awareness through the medical services of the police.
According to UNDP Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law Evelyn Edroma, UNDP has agreed to support the Police Hospital by sensitizing and empowering front-line Doctors, public health officers, and nurses about coronavirus. Including the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits; and information materials to the Rajaf and Rambo Police training centers.
"UNDP is strengthening patrol and border control with IEC materials including prevention kits for the protection of officers from job-related risks; thermometers for monitoring and early detection of temperatures of people crossing borders, of officers during parade time and of people in custody," Evelyn announced.
A team from the UN Clinic in Juba led by Dr. Neelam Khan sensitized SSNPS leadership on safety measures to fight COVID-19 through demonstration of relevant hygiene practices, social distancing, and how to keep working spaces safe from infections.
UNDP, through its Law Enforcement Officer, Ernest Yeboah, is also providing handwashing equipment to be placed at police stations, admission desks, Special Protection Units where SGBV survivors are. UNDP will also provide additional motorcycles to strengthen patrol and deployed with police paralegals to facilitate efforts to identify families of people in custody who can help bail them from detention in a bid to decongest cells.
Additionally, UNDP provided advice and comparative experiences that have strengthened the standing orders on police conduct and behavior to prevent, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including when policing the lock-down period.
In a related engagement, UNDP's Access to Justice project sensitized the Emergency Call Center (ECC) and the Health Emergency Center (HEC) managers and about 200 responders on COVID 19 and discussed ways to address identified challenges.
To help police in their work, and preparedness to fight emerging crime threats linked to the pandemic, Evelyn stated that UNDP is providing 20 motorcycles to strengthen patrols and reduce the number of officers using patrol pickup cars from about an average of 10 to 4 – in line with social distancing. UNDP is further providing 50 radio equipment to improve communication between the police stations and patrol cars. A fully refurbished building has been assigned to quarantine people suspected to have COVID-19 until handed over to a designated health facility, including people arrested for having crossed the borders illegally.