Implementation of Community Policing in Timor-Leste

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Fundasaun Mahein (FM), 30 July 2015

Press Release

Implementation of Community Policing in Timor-Leste

Community policing has had a long history in Timor-Leste ever since its inception by the PNTL and has been constantly evolving and learning to fit the needs of Timor’s inhabitants while applying the lessons learnt from other countries. Community policing is the philosophy of the PNTL and its application does not focus only on units, departments or sections but on the entire perspective that the PNTL takes on law and order matters. However, different interpretations of community policing are still being raised by some members of the PNTL as well as a general misunderstanding that community policing is only run by the National Community Police Department (NCPD) as opposed to a departmental wide policy. This signifies that there is still not yet a good understanding of what community policing means to the PNTL within its members as dictated by the PNTL’s recently completed strategic plan.

The community policing is prioritized in the National Development Strategic Plan (NDSP) 2030, Internal security strategic plan of 2030. The PNTL strategic plan pattern of 2014-2018 adopts a HAKUAK [Hug] philosophy of community policing and adopts the VIP doctrine (Visibility, Involvement and Professionalism).

Therefore, the PNTL has developed an important resource within the community through the community policing service. Further to this the PNTL with assistance from the development partners have established the Council of National Directive (CND) at the national level which is comprised of staff from the Ministry for Security and the PNTL General Commander and advises on the policy and strategy of the community policing program.

In addition to the CND there is a further level of control in the Management Council for Program’s (MCP). This is composed of the chief of the national community police department with the assistance from its development partners, and is led by the PNTL second general commander.

At the municipalities level there is a Council of District Directive (CDD). The CDD’s is comprised of the municipality commander, municipality administrator, and other linked departments that administer all eleven of the municipalities.

The implementation of the strategic activity is conducted by a range of bodies and includes KPK (Community Policing Program), SV (Voluntary Security), OPE (Official School Police) and OPS (Official Suku Police); which were developed through the implementation of services in the communities themselves. KPK has been established in 10 villages from 11 municipalities, with a total of 110 villages taking part. SV has been established in 2 villages from Ermera and Viqueque municipalities. OPS has been placed in 410 villages from 12 municipalities including the Oe-cusse region; OPE has been established in 12 schools in the Dili municipality.

Despite this the difficult issue of implementing community policing still exists. The first issue that is faced is the legal basis for KPK and SV; second is the actual monitoring of KPK and SV; third are the conditions for POS in the village and includes the dwelling, transport, communication, and security facilities that exist for the Suku Police. It also includes cooperation between government and civil societies that work for the same issue from different institutions or organizations involved with the same people in the same village.

The key point that is most concerning is the sustainability of the implementation of community policing in Timor-Leste once development partners’ assistance has ended. FM believes that this is a good chance for the government of TL to continue to show its commitment to these programs and its dedication to HAKUAK principles. For this to happen the police first need to remain visible to residents and involve them to act for security and feel connected to the PNTL, second, The security services need to reduce the number of conflict and crimes, lastly, they need to ensure residents feel secure and strengthen the relationship between police and residents.


FM recommends to:

a. The National Parliament committee B to continue to supervise the implementation of the community policing in TL and for the government to invest more in Community Policing to benefit residents.

b. The government to continue developing and support the community policing in concrete actions that have brought residents’ confidence to police and residents have acted for security safety.

c. The government and the PNTL general commander to continue supporting facilities, equipment and support police to act more professionally.

d. The Interim Ministry, Ministry of Social Solidarity, PNTL and civil societies to act in a co-ordinated manner to act for conflict prevention, crimes and build peace.

e. The PNTL general commander needs to guide work for KPK with its legal framework in order to avoid risk to KPK with effective monitoring.

f. Encourage public to continue participating or to become involved with security actions and to strengthen the relationship between police and residents.

For more details on this issue please contact:

Nélson Belo
Executive Director of FM
Phone: (+670) 78316075 no 77561184

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