BISHKEK, 22 June 2012 – Representatives of Kyrgyzstan’s law enforcement bodies and local self-government from Bishkek and Osh visited the United Kingdom on an OSCE-supported study tour.
During a seven-day visit to Northern Ireland five participants from Kyrgyzstan met with local neighborhood policing teams and community organizations in the Falls Community Council which serves the two communities. They learned about experiences of cross-community partnership in a post-conflict environment, in particular, about the Neighbourhood Management programme designed to facilitate close co-operation between local communities and the official agencies, including the police.
Vincent O’Shea, Community Police Advisor of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, said: "The purpose of the visit was to demonstrate how effective neighbourhood management can be a driver for social change and for empowering communities to seek solutions to community security problems together with the police.”
Gerry McConville, the Director of Falls Community Council, noted: “We were happy to welcome the delegation from Kyrgyzstan to Belfast and to share with the colleagues our experience of conflict resolution in a city emerging from conflict. We also learned from the experience of our Kyrgyzstan’s counterparts, and received a better understanding of the challenges the people are facing in their country”.
Tursunai Aitmatova, the Chief of Department for Defence and Law Enforcement Bodies at the Mayor’s Office of Osh city, said: “This study visit gave us an insight to successes and lessons learned during the establishment of the Neighbourhood Management programme in Northern Ireland and a discuss how such police-community partnership models can be implemented in realities of Kyrgyzstan in order to better prevent crimes, interethnic tension, and religious extremism.”
Following the visit, 11 project sites are planned to be established in the north and south of Kyrgyzstan where neighborhood management teams will start working together to identify and solve problems relating to crime and quality of life in their areas.
The study visit is a part of a project initiated by the OSCE Police Reform Programme for Kyrgyzstan jointly with the OSCE Community Security Initiative.