Empowering Change: UNODC and NPB train women officers in gender-responsive policing

25 June 2024, Islamabad - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) collaborated with the National Police Bureau (NPB) to conduct a comprehensive series of training sessions titled ‘Transforming Communities through Gender-Responsive Policing Training.’ This flagship programme was exclusively attended by women police officers from the Islamabad Police, Punjab Police, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The training was designed to elevate the expertise of female law enforcement officials in addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases. The training encompassed both fundamental and advanced aspects of the legal framework, covering the intricacies of procedures and policies pertinent to GBV. Held in Islamabad, the training sessions were spread across May and June 2024, each session lasting three days. A total of 100 women police officers participated, exploring crucial aspects of gender-responsive policing.

At the start of the training sessions series, in his opening remarks, Dr. Jeremy Milsom, the Country Representative of UNODC in Pakistan (COPAK), addressed the participants and underscored the global increase in GBV cases. He reaffirmed UNODC’s commitment to combating gender-based violence against women and girls, emphasizing its significance as both a security concern and a development issue in Pakistan.

Also present on the occasion, Dr. Ehsan Sadiq, Director General of the National Police Bureau, highlighted the critical need for continuous training in gender-responsive policing, advocating for its integration into the essential skill set of all law enforcement personnel.

The training sessions emphasized gender sensitivity in both pre- and post-trial procedures. The participants were introduced to foundational concepts of gender, with a strong emphasis on human rights within the context of Pakistan’s constitution. They focused on legislation related to GBV and the nuanced handling of GBV survivors. This included the importance of standard operating procedures (SOPs), psychological considerations, and the roles of investigative officers in GBV cases. Interactive group presentations and role-playing exercises provided attendees with practical experience in conducting survivor interviews and understanding the root causes of gender-based violence. The participants were also introduced to forensics and crime scene investigation, with a focus on the critical responsibilities of first responders. Emphasis was placed on preserving evidence, maintaining the integrity of the crime scene, and ensuring a thorough and sensitive approach to GBV cases from the initial response.

Across all five sessions, pre- and post-training survey data revealed that 80% of participants had not previously received instruction in this specific thematic area. The majority expressed high levels of satisfaction, particularly highlighting the value of the practical exercises. Overall, the data demonstrated a significant enhancement in both general knowledge and skill proficiency as a direct result of the training.