Southern Sudan police trained on referendum security

13 September 2010 - Officers from the Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) have arrived in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba for the start of a five-day course to teach prospective trainers about security issues related to the 2011 Southern Sudan self-determination referendum.

Organized by the Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS), UN Police and the Norwegian government, the course has drawn 120 SSPS officers from all ten of the country's southern states, and they will later share the contents of the training with their colleagues when they return to their respective bases.

"We need the referendum to be peaceful," said SSPS Deputy Inspector General Gordon Micah Kur, "and for it to be peaceful, it requires proper efforts exerted by the police."

Mr. Kur reminded the gathering that the police would be responsible for overseeing the conduct of the referendum and safeguarding the security of the ballot boxes during the tabulation of votes.

Ann-Marie Orler, Police Adviser and Director in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, underscored the UN's commitment to support the SSPS before, during, and after the referendum.

"I understand that we are entering a very challenging moment of the CPA, so we as UNMIS would like to give advice to the police service, build mental capacities, and train them on democratic transformations and policing," Ms. Orler said, who began a three-day visit to Southern Sudan on 12 December.

According to Ms. Orler, one of the biggest challenges facing many members of the Southern Sudanese police force was their lack of experience and instruction in law enforcement before joining its ranks.

"We will exert every effort to professionalize them," she said.

Police Capt. Andrew Jagei said he was looking forward to the training course.

"I will better my people by ensuring that the referendum receives maximum security," he said.