Press release

Scottish cops to help Malawi prepare for 2014 elections

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Police officers travel to Malawi to share their expertise on riot training and public disorder.

Photograph of riot police training
The training will help Malawi's police to keep order during election time. Picture: Blagoje Grujic/UN Photo

Three Scottish police, including one former officer who served for 17 years in Northern Ireland, will this Saturday swap Fife for Lilongwe when they travel to Malawi to share their expertise on tackling public disorder as part of a British government-backed programme.

The officers from Police Scotland will head up part of the Malawi Policing Improvement Programme (MPIP), backed by the Department for International Development (DFID), to enable the police in Malawi to better address public order issues after riots in 2011 saw 20 people shot dead. The training comes in advance of Malawi’s general elections in May 2014.

Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening said:

Security has a major role to play in Malawi’s much-needed economic recovery, and the Malawi Police Service plays a vital part in this. Ordinary people need to be confident that their police force is working in their interest.

The team of Scottish officers travelling to Malawi have decades of experience in tackling public order issues in the UK and abroad. They will share their skills and expertise to enable the Malawi Police to improve its response, reputation and relationship with the local community.

By ensuring a police service that is professional and accountable, the UK will help to reduce human rights violations in Malawi and save substantial amounts of money lost to crime and corruption.

The Police Improvement Programme was initiated following a review of policing methods in Malawi after the deaths of 20 people during widespread public unrest in July 2011. This exposed serious capacity problems in the Malawi Police Service and a lack of specialised operational planning and public order management skills amongst police officers.

The DFID-backed programme will involve training at least 300 Malawian officers in public order management, and will improve their response to crime and insecurity as well as their ability to tackle public disorder. Training will include: command and leadership support; public order exercises; basic forward intelligence gathering; planning for community events such as football matches; managing protest and teaching new trainers. It will enable the Malawi police to build trust with local communities and prevent violence before it starts.

Malawi and Scotland have a shared history dating to when Scottish missionary Dr David Livingstone first helped to fight slavery there in the early 19th century.

Notes to editors

  • The UK will provide up to £3m over 2 years (June 2013 to July 2015) to support the Malawi Police Service to improve responsiveness and accountability.

  • The officers are from Police Scotland, the single police service which was established on April 1 2013 to replace the previous eight forces and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency

  • The programme will see nine serving and former officers travel to Malawi over its course to help the Malawian police support general elections in 2014 that are free, fair and trouble-free.

  • Those deploying on Saturday 24th are: Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Inspector Graham Miller and Mr Allen Jones.

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Published 22 August 2013