Sep 27, 2016 | Publication Summary

Centre for Security Governance (CSG) Senior Fellow Stephen Baranyi has co-authored a new report, with Yves Sainsiné, on the development of the Haitian National Police in the context of the ongoing governance crisis in Haiti. The full report is available in French here. The English Executive Summary has been reproduced below.

Executive Summary

The highly-contested character of Haiti’s national elections in 2015 and the larger governance crisis that endures today, have sharpened debates about the role of the Haitian National Police (HNP) and its development in recent years.

For some official observers including the UN Secretary-General in his August 2016 report to the UN Security Council, the HNP has demonstrated progress in key domains such as recruitment and training, territorial deployment and strategic planning, as well as in strengthening the capacities of specialised units such as the Judicial Police and crowd control units. Yet even official stakeholders recognise that HNP development has lagged in other important areas including financial and human resource administration, crime prevention and control over the use of force. HNP and UN officials also recognise that policing advances are greatly constrained by the lack of significant progress in the judiciary, in the political system or underlying socio-economic conditions.

Others – notably some human rights organisations, scholars and journalists — are more critical. Rather than taking sides in those debates, this report scans the panorama of HNP development and of public security in Haiti, before delving into five key areas of policing: territorial decentralisation; community policing; crowd control; the treatment of women (as policewomen within the HNP and as citizens by the HNP); and policing related to the elections. The report draws on the extensive document and field research that informed our May 2015 report, on new research we carried out in the Port-au-Prince and in the North and North-east departments in 2015-2016, and on extensive exchanges with HNP officials, civil society organisations and international partners in 2016.

 

On that basis we offer a careful, nuanced assessment of uneven HNP progress in our five areas of focus. The report validates some priorities that are emerging for the next HNP development plan (2017-2021), the idea of balancing continued quantitative growth with more fine-grained goals such as increasing territorial decentralisation and women’s professional representation; strengthening crime prevention and other operational capacities; adopting a new HNP Law as well as new rules of engagement for the use of force. We also underscore the importance of ensuring that the HNP strictly adheres to norms of professionalism and impartiality in the last rounds of the elections scheduled from October 2016 to January 2017.

 

5 FOCUS AREAS

  • Territorial Decentralisation
  • Community Policing
  • Crowd Control
  • Treatment of Women
  • Election-Related Policing

In our conclusions and recommendations, we add other elements to emerging official priorities. This includes opening space for citizen participation in assessing the implementation of the current HNP Plan and in formulating the next HNP Plan. It involves making community policing a priority — not just for specialised units like the Education Police (EDUPOL) in the capital, but for most police units across the land. It includes investing more in supporting and utilizing research to inform evidence-based policy making in this sensitive domain of public policy. Finally, it includes broadening the engagement of national institutions and actors who could sustain the significant investments made in the HNP over the past decade while extending them to equally-strategic areas like judicial reform, gender equality and poverty reduction – particularly given the possibility that the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and other international partners will reduce their presence in Haiti much more dramatically in the coming years.

The full report is available in French here.