Police reform is a must
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the police force is still organised as it was during the colonial era, as an instrument of social control. The only purpose of the police was to serve the regime and those in power. Those structures have remained, but as DRC heads towards democracy the police need to be reformed.
Thierry Nlandu from the University of Kinshasa is guest researcher at NAI during spring 2013. He emphasises that the police in DRC need to clarify their role so as to become a public service for the protection of the nation’s population, instead of being a tool of those in power.
− The real problem is the lack of political will to reform the police. The government is quite happy with the old structures. International donors should push for and support long-term reform, Thierry Nlandu argues.
To build such a police force, the state should consider professionalising conditions for the police to make this sector more attractive. Today, being a police officer is a low-status job and those enlisting in the police force have few other options.
− It is easy to complain about the police. But we have to consider that they live in poverty and have the worst working conditions, Thierry Nlandu observes.