In 2010, at the request of the Netherlands, ISSAT was asked to support a group of four police academies to develop a two week training course, targeting mainly (senior) law enforcement officials. The aim of the course is to train these officers on the issues around police reform within an SSR and post-conflict context, and to prepare them to act as police reform advisors within multilateral mission or bilateral support programmes.
The programme is a joint endeavour chaired by the Netherlands in conjunction with Norway,Canada and the UK. ISSAT was mandated to provide advisory support as well as its current SSR training materials, and to present a module on looking at police reform through an SSR lens. The first course was piloted in September 2011, and a second course took place in 2012, both at Bramshill in the UK. The Third course was hosted in 2013 by the Swiss at Stans, and this year’s Master Class will be hosted by the Norwegians in Stavern, Norway.
Whilst many countries have designed and delivered specific training programs to prepare police officers for participation in peacekeeping missions, there are far fewer opportunities to prepare police experts to act as advisors and mentors to reform initiatives in post-conflict and transitional, organisational development contexts. A good advisor/expert requires a different set of skills, attitude and level of knowledge from those needed for traditional and narrowly defined peacekeeping deployments.
The National Police of the Netherlands, together with DCAF/ISSAT took the initiative to further explore this need in 2011 via their partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and College of Policing and the Norwegian Police University College. The Australian Federal Police supported the initiative from the start by sending participants and became full managing partners in 2014.
To date 84 delegates from 9 different countries have participated in a Masterclass. Evaluation showed them to have been very successful and alumni of this pilot programme have already made important career moves following the Masterclass.
There is significant ownership by the five policing organisations, who have taken over the roll-out of the course for the long-term. The modules developed will also assist ISSAT in the inclusion of more police reform modules/examples into its Level 2 Advanced SSR training course.
The five-day training will bring together approximately 25 participants from the Dutch government, NGOs, Dutch partners, as well as EU staff from Headquarters and the field. The course includes several modules covering topics such as the concept and the contexts of SSR, governance, police and justice reform, defence reform as well as coordination. Special focus will be paid to the introduction of practical examples through case studies. Interactive co-learning methodologies and simulation exercises that encourage participants to share their own experiences will be used throughout the course.