UNODC supported "one-stop shop" improves access to policing services in Nookat

With the opening of a refurbished police station and local crime prevention centre in Nookat, the southern province of Osh, the US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently marked an important milestone for community policing and crime prevention in Kyrgyzstan.

"The newly established police station in Nookat is unique, as it is accommodated in the Mayor's Office, which greatly facilitates the provision of services to the population and accessibility of the police in a strategic location in the centre of the town" - noted Sandeep Paul, INL Director in Kyrgyzstan.

Following pilot initiatives in Jalalabad city and Tash Tumshuk village in the Batken province in 2014 and 2015, during past 2 years INL and UNODC have been engaged in a joint initiative of scaling up social partnerships between local governments, police and civil society around issues of crime prevention and public safety.

As part of the initiative, technical assistance has been provided to improve office space for police officers and representatives of local crime prevention centres in 5 municipalities and in Bishkek city. "Effective police engagement with the population is key to preventing crime", said Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kursan Asanov. "The support provided by INL and UNODC to capacity development of police officers and refurbishment of police stations has greatly improved the ability of the police to do their work at the community level, including in remote areas".

In addition to technical assistance, over 180 local government representatives, police officers and representatives of local crime prevention centres in 16 municipalities and towns around the country benefited from training on crime prevention. "In each province, study visits were held to promote learning and exchange of good practices between representatives of local government bodies, police and local crime prevention centres", added Koen Marquering, UNODC International Coordinator. "We have also provided small grants to support implementation of local crime prevention plans".

Nookat, a town with a multi-ethnic population of 16,000 people, is one of the locations where INL and UNODC have facilitated community-led crime prevention. Within the framework of Nookat's local crime prevention plan, local authorities, police and civil society work together to prevent violent extremism, to promote road safety and to address the problem of family violence and early marriages.

Upon the initiative of the Nookat Mayor's Office, refurbishment works were conducted at the Mayor's Office to allow for the establishment of a new police station and improved office space for the local crime prevention centre. The total cost of the refurbishment works, which were covered from local sources with co-funding provided by INL, amounted to more than 2 million KGS.