High-level Senegal roundtable to focus on citizen-police collaboration on road security

  January 13, 2020

More than 100 representatives of the Senegalese Defense and Security Forces, government, civil society, community leaders, local government officials, and transportation unions will convene at King Fahd Palace Hotel in Dakar Jan. 16 to celebrate and build on two years of joint efforts to improve public perception of police integrity and effectiveness in Senegal, specifically in their ability to improve law enforcement prevention and communication with citizens.

The Jan. 16 Share Fair marks a critical moment of success and learning for the Roadmaps to Security project, which since 2017 has facilitated ongoing communication and collaboration between security forces (mainly the police and gendarmerie), government ministries and citizens to tackle the widespread challenge of road security. This challenge extends beyond traffic accidents to encompass a myriad of issues affecting roadways such as corruption, trafficking, banditry, irregular migration, weak governance, and violent extremism.

To date, the two-year Roadmaps to Security in Senegal and Burkina Faso project (Roadmaps), funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and implemented by a consortium led by PartnersGlobal, Partners West Africa Senegal, and, in Burkina Faso, the Fondation pour la S√©curit√© du Citoyen, has been focusing on the issue of road security to address a critical obstacle to securing roads in Sahelian countries: low levels of collaboration and high levels of mistrust between local populations and security forces in charge of law enforcement.

At the Senegal Share Fair, participants will first discuss a range of issues contributing to road insecurity—migration, trafficking of goods and people, and criminality—and then will recommend ongoing actions to reduce corruption and improve citizen-police trust.

Building trust between security forces and citizens: Senegal leading by example

The Sahel region faces complex security challenges that are both confined to and transcend nation-state boundaries. Some of the greatest concerns of citizens from the region relate to the lack of accountable and transparent processes in the security sector, insufficient provision of basic security needs, and limited access to justice.

To address this challenge in Senegal, where road security is among the chief concerns driving citizen distrust in government, Roadmaps has worked with law enforcement to improve their ability to prevent and respond to road security incidents. The project has also supported law enforcement in reducing corrupt practices and increasing their communication and collaboration with citizens.

Political buy-in and institutionalization: Senegal’s Road Safety Guide and Road Security Strategy

The Jan. 16 event will highlight successes of the project to date, such as the debut of two Road Safety Guides, one for civilians and another for security forces, developed by Partners West Africa-Senegal in partnership with the police and gendarmerie. These guides mark the first time that high-level police and gendarmerie officers have worked together to develop a common resource.

Collaboration between civil society and law enforcement

The Roadmaps project has created opportunity for increased citizen-police collaboration through dialogues, debates and workshops on challenges and solutions to security issues, the formation of joint local steering committees, road safety trainings, open doors at police stations, football games among civilians and security forces, community visits and other activities.

The past two years have laid solid groundwork for more inclusive, multi-sectoral responses to road security. As law enforcement has become more responsive to road safety concerns and citizens and police have interacted more frequently and in more positive ways, citizen-police trust has grown.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact: Dr. Adjaratou Aidara-Ndiaye, Executive Director of Partners West Africa Senegal (PWAS) at [email protected]

Check out news coverage from the event!