A roundtable discussion held on 9 December 2020 marked the first collaborative event between RUSI and NATO Stability Policing Centre of Excellence (NSPCOE) (Vicenza, Italy), which focused on ‘lessons learned’ from the experiences of NSPCOE police practitioners who have recently been deployed to Afghanistan.
This event was hosted by Keith Ditcham, Senior Research Fellow and Acting Director, RUSI and Colonel Giuseppe de Magistris, NSPCOE Director; it was chaired by Dr Georgina Sinclair, Associate Fellow, RUSI and Dr Imogen Parsons, Senior Research Fellow and Acting Director, RUSI.
Lesson learning and the development of good practice is integral to international mission effectiveness and sustainability. Sharing operational and tactical lessons between gendarmerie forces (including NSPCOE) and the military can foster good practice when policing with communities in hostile environments.
The roundtable discussion focused on three core strands: community securitisation; community engagement and gender. They are key components within police assistance programmes and security sector reform more broadly, and paramount in Afghanistan to build the consent of the local population and to achieve police and state legitimacy in the longer term. The broad lessons that emerged during this roundtable included issues relating to:
- Local community awareness and sensitivity
- Tailoring training, advising and assisting programmes to the needs of local police
- Integrating gender within wider police assistance programmes
- Aligning police reform with wider criminal justice programmes
- Providing sustained commitment to security and development programmes
- Wider international donor community coordination and cooperation
- Using the most suitable policing models to deliver police capacity building
- Police – military cooperation
It is hoped that the initial outputs from this roundtable, including an article on key lesson learning, will provide the framework for a larger scale research project. This will identify lessons learned and good practice for the (NATO) military from gendarmerie forces including NSPCOE, Centre of Excellence for Stability Policing Units (CoESPU) and European Gendarmerie Force (EGF).