Nampol Enhanced by French Police Experts & Donations

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK France has contributed significantly to the creation of a new Emergency Response Unit (ERU) which the Namibian Police will start operating some time in 2007. At a media briefing on Wednesday, the French Embassy announced that France has been closely involved in the training of personnel for the new unit, as well as donating much of the equipment. Over the past two years, the French have donated a total of eight vehicles, being four sedan patrol cars, two bakkies and two mini-busses to transport larger groups from the force. During the rest of 2006 as well as in 2007 the French also intend donating radio equipment for use both in the vehicles and at ERU bases. The aim seems to be that the ERU will operate the way the old Flying Squad used to, and in the same way as rapid response units operated by private security companies such as Proforce, G4S and 911. The French Embassy says Nampol itself saw the need for such a service and has been working on creating the unit with the support of the French Police since mid-2005. Based on an assessment carried out by two French police experts in May last year, it was decided that two detachments would initially be established, one in Windhoek and one in Oshakati. The Windhoek and Oshakati units will each consist of 80 police officers, with reaction teams on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nampol’s aim is that there must be three two-man patrol teams with one controller based at headquarters on duty in both Windhoek and Oshakati at all times that can intervene in any emergency. French experts have conducted two training sessions in skills such as shooting and intervention techniques – one in September last year and the other this year – with Namibian police officers who will join the ERU. Nineteen of these officers have additionally been trained as instructors who will be able to train new members of the unit. Deputy Commissioner Schalk Meuwesen of the Namibian Police yesterday said the new police unit is not yet fully established, but when it becomes operational it will have very high visibility and can respond to any emergency. According to Meuwesen, an official hand-over ceremony will soon be held to acknowledge the French donation, where certificates will also be awarded to police officers who have passed the special training course. The French Mission for Cooperation has announced that two leading French archaeologists will be working in the Diamond area near LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz on an excavation project. Brigitte Senut and Martin Pickford from the French Centre for Scientific Research will hold a press conference on Fossils in Namibia at the Geological survey at 18h00 on November 20, 2006. F. Galangau, A. Jonchery, A. Nivart of the National Museum of Natural History will be in Namibia from November 19 to December 4 to support the effort of the National Museum of Namibia to modernize the public presentations of its archaeological and ethnological collections. The French Embassy and the Association of Regional Councils will organize a workshop on November 21 at the Khomas Regional Council on the decentralization process. The purpose of this meeting, which will be attended by the Governors of Namibia, is to strengthen the support of French local authorities for the decentralization efforts of Namibia’s Regional Councils. The Namibian Ombudsman, John Walters, will launch the Namibian Consultative Commission on Human Rights, which was created with the support of the French Embassy, on December 1.