New state-of-the-art police stations demonstrate ISF’s commitment to community-oriented police service
Two new police stations for the Beirut districts of Raouche and Ramlet E Bayda, as well as the headquarters of Police of Beirut’s 1st Territorial Company, were formally opened today. The three facilities are housed in a refurbished, modern building that is in full compliance with international standards.
This achievement is the latest step the ISF has undertaken to deliver a pioneering Lebanese police service that promotes trust, respects human rights, upholds liberties, preserves order and security and combats crime efficiently in partnership with the local community.
An inaugural ceremony held for the occasion at UNESCO in Verdun was attended by Major General Imad Osman, director-general of the ISF, British ambassador Chris Rampling, top ISF officers, diplomats and local dignitaries.
In remarks to guests at the opening ceremony, Major General Osman thanked the ISF’s international partners, especially the UK, for their continuous and ongoing support to various components of the Lebanese state, the ISF in particular. He added that there were two main elements to the community-oriented policing model adopted by the ISF: the acquisition of specialised equipment to help better detect crime and arrest criminals, and deeper engagement between the ISF and society in general. “Our decision to adopt community policing as a future model for our operations aims at raising the awareness of our people and promoting mutual trust and respect and implementing integrity in our dealings, thus creating a culture followed by all Lebanese, not a culture of personal gains and temporary interests,” he said. Major General Osman added that through the partnership between the ISF and the community, it would be possible to gain greater information to uncover crimes and arrest the perpetrators. “As such, together we can achieve comprehensive security and justice,” he said.
British ambassador Chris Rampling praised the “hard work and dedication” of the men and women of the ISF who, he said, have embraced and promoted the transformations to modern policing. “This is seen in the accountability, to community partnership, an increased professionalism, in recruitment and training of male and female officers, and enhanced mechanisms for reporting crime,” Rampling said. In addition, he noted that the refurbished Ras Beirut police station, which was the pilot for the community policing programme in 2014, was the only station in Lebanon to include female investigative officers. “We and our partners will continue to provide support to the Internal Security Forces’ plans and reform, specifically through support to projects under the ISF Strategic Plan, of which the roll out of the community policing model is a key constituent,” Rampling said.
Jonathan McIvor, the programme director of the British embassy’s policing support team, said that the opening of the new stations for Raouche and Ramlet El Bayda along with the headquarters of the 1st Territorial Company marked the culmination of 15 months of intensive work. But the launch of the refurbished building, while essential, was only a part of the overall new policing concept, he said. “Critically important are revamped processes, systems and procedures and the automation of those systems; the selection and training of staff, both men and women; and effective leadership,” McIvor said. “The policing concept is about intelligence-led, preventive, community-oriented policing, which requires effective crime and data analysis beyond individual police stations. The support provided by the BPST to introduce automation across Beirut is also therefore paramount to the success of this project.”
Major General Osman and other dignitaries then cut the ribbon at the entrance to the renovated building before being given a tour of the new facilities by Colonel Johnny Dagher, the commander of Police of Beirut’s 1st Territorial Company.
The refurbishment of the new Raouche and Ramlet El Bayda police stations and the 1st Territorial Company headquarters, which commenced in August 2017, was funded by the British government through the British Policing Support Team, reflecting the UK’s long-term commitment to support the ISF. The renovations included structural and radical modifications at all levels.
Work began with the physical building itself, with the overall design and internal layout updated to better suit the requirements of modern policing and to ensure the protection of human rights and the respect of international safety and security standards. Work procedures were also redesigned to ensure cooperation and communication with the community, with the ultimate aim of providing a service that meets local needs in a timely, effective and at times proactive manner. This is to be achieved through newly-added features such as specialized foot and bicycle patrols, effective service systems, comfortable and distinctive uniforms, modern equipment, automation of workflow and processes and work methods that focus on dialogue with members of the community to address their concerns and needs. Partnership with the local community is enhanced by the selection of qualified personnel based on merit, efficiency and professionalism. Staff also underwent intensive and specialized training to ensure that they have the skills and behaviour required to provide a service that inspires trust and respect.
This project will be supported by the adoption of a community outreach strategy that includes familiarizing citizens with the new policing model, holding meetings with merchants’ committees and local associations to learn about their problems and to help solve them. Additionally, lectures will be held for school and university students on crime prevention and how to act when witnessing a crime.
The community-oriented policing service project commenced with the refurbishment of the Ras Beirut police station, which was opened in 2014, followed by Ashrafieh police station in 2018. The approach is based on the principle of police playing an active and positive role within the community and gaining, in return, the community’s cooperation and trust.
Over the past decade, the ISF has continued to work with its local and international partners to successfully disrupt terrorist plots and improve its crime fighting capabilities through improved forensics and crime scene management. It has also introduced measures to enhance Human Rights protection and address the needs of the community. As part of its deep-rooted commitment toward serving the Lebanese people, the ISF is currently implementing a five-year strategic plan (2018-2022) that consists of two institutional trajectories – changing from a police force to a police service that respects individual rights and community concerns; and evolving from traditional to modern policing techniques.
The opening of the Raouche and Ramlet El Bayda police stations, along with the headquarters of the 1st Territorial Company, demonstrates the ISF’s commitment to the Strategic Plan, while fulfilling the plan’s four objectives: Promote Safety, Security and Stability; Enhance Partnerships with the Community; Enhance Accountability and Uphold Human Rights Protection; and Upgrade Professionalism and Organisational Efficiency and Effectiveness. This serves to realize the ISF’s vision for the next five years: “Together Toward a Safer Society”.