Rubavu October 11, 2012- Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) concluded on Thursday, October 11, 2012 in Rubavu District the countrywide training workshop of police officers on environment and climate change. Participants who attended the training in Rubavu included Police station commanders, community policing liaison officers and intelligence officers in the western and northern region.
The objective of the countrywide training is to equip Police staff with necessary skills which will enable them to efficiently perform their tasks in environmental law enforcement and environmental management.
While officially closing the training, Eng Coletha Ruhamya, the Deputy Director General of REMA commended the massive participation of the trainees countrywide and pledged continued partnership between REMA and police.
“We have been impressed by your massive participation which is a sign of your strong commitment. We will keep our existing partnership in educating the community and at the same time enforcing the law to make sure that environmental degradation is prevented. We are more motivated in education and prevention than fining.” Mentioned the Deputy Director General
Speaking on behalf of National Police, Supt Theos Badege, Ag. Commissioner in charge of Public Relations and Community Policing pledged that the trainees will share the skills with the rest of police staff and community policing committees and that RNP will continue its pilot role in environmental law enforcement.
“The training of police officers means the entire number of Rwanda national police staff trained as well as the community policing committees countrywide. Laws and policies are already in place and enforcement is our duty. With the skills obtained from the training as well as our continued commitment and strong partnership with REMA, we will achieve more” mentioned Supt Badege
Supt Badege also mentioned some of the challenges in environmental law enforcement notably the commonly known as tragedy of the common in environmental issues which results in having ‘no complainants’ for environmental crimes. This; according to Supt Badege, encourages little pressure or follow up on environmental crimes compared to other crimes. People’s culture-based resistance on some environmental crimes is also identified as one of the challenges.
The courses that were given to police staff countrywide included Environment and Sustainable Development; Environment and Security; Environmental Policy and Environmental Regulations in Rwanda; State of Environment and challenges; Environmental Organic Law: Principles and responsibilities, prohibitions and penal provisions. The courses included also Protection of wetlands, rivers, lakes and biodiversity; Environmental Inspection and Role of the Police; Fighting against the use and sell of polythene bags and other prohibited products; Ozone Protection, GHG and Climate Change.
Also in their group discussions, police officers discussed the role of police environmental education and environmental law enforcement.
The trainees have been subdivided into 3 groups according to their regions notably the Central and Eastern Region in which the training started ; the Southern Region together with Rusizi and Nyamasheke Districts and finally the rest of Western and Northern Region.