Police Accountability as a Key Enabler for Success
Siren understands that a key enabler of successful security and justice reform programming is the introduction and enhancement of governance and accountability measures. Improved accountability can improve sustainability of interventions, is crucial to rebuilding public confidence in institutions, and can spur even greater long-term efficiency and effectiveness in police service delivery. Accountability can be driven both internally and externally.
As part of the British Policing Support Program (2016-2019), Siren (in partnership with Northern Ireland Cooperation Overseas) has helped strengthen oversight and accountability measures for Lebanon’s national police force. This has included the transformation of internal inspection mechanisms and support to the public police misconduct complaints mechanisms.
Siren successfully assisted the institution in transition from a compliance driven inspection process to one focused on continuous performance improvement. In order to achieve this, we have employed a systems-thinking approach to inspection reform: Moving beyond a training and equipment focused intervention, we instead assisted the police in re-engineering the inspection process in its entirety. This included new standard operating procedures, new inspection forms and terms of reference for personnel, new office premises for staff, and consistent on-the-job mentoring over a three-year period. To support this initiative, Siren designed a bespoke software system that moved inspections from a paper-based to digitized system, allowed inspectors to log inspection data directly on-site through mobile tablets, facilitated the improved collection and collation of data, and allowed for analysis of long-term inspection trends for the first time. Siren’s support means that the newly formed analysis team now produces regular and thematic inspection reports documenting overall trends and strategic recommendations on key issues such as detention conditions and human rights protections.
Siren coupled this strengthening of internal oversight with support to the police organizations public-facing complaints system. The complaints system was fully automated, again allowing for analysis of trends over time and improved record keeping. In addition, an online reporting function was introduced to facilitate greater access.
Siren sees these types of interventions as critical to the long-term viability of any major reform programme, and is therefore committed to integrating such elements into its projects and programmes moving forward.