Malawi & U.K.: "Malawian police check out Norfolk crime "


October 31, 2003, 12:38 PM
from the Archand Regional police check out Norfolk crime


October 31, 2003 07:15

Plagued by car-jacking and gun crime, Malawian police have some stories to tell their counterparts in Norfolk.

But two officers from its capital of Lilongwe have just spent two weeks in the county getting tips on scenes of crime examinations, intelligence gathering and family protection as part of an exchange programme funded by central government.

Detective Sub Inspector Geoffrey Mgungwe , a scenes of crime specialist, and Sub Inspector Peggy Songazauda visited Norwich and North Walsham during the fact-finding mission.

Ms Songazauda spent time with the Family Protection Unit as she specialises in domestic violence and family protection issues, while Mr Mgungwe worked alongside Scenes of Crime Officers examining forensic and other techniques.

The pair were also taken to Carrow Road last Tuesday to observe the policing of Norwich's exciting clash with Derby.

During the summer, Norfolk's Assistant Chief Constable Simon Taylor attended the opening of a model police station in Lilongwe, along with the British High Commissioner for Malawi and the country's Vice President.

Last year, two officers from Norfolk travelled to the fifth poorest country in the world to help set up crime management and intelligence units and improve

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Jelley said the programme was assisting a developing country to provide the police service it desired and that officers here were given the opportunity to work alongside officers from an African country.

"The good practice we have set up is now being rolled out across the whole country to the big city stations and what has been nice is that Lilongwe has seen a 12pc reduction in crime since and they are putting it down, in part, to the targeted approach and more efficient handling of prisoners.

"Other African countries have looked at the model and Uganda is now getting its help in cascading best practice to there."

Mr Jelley added: "They did not have an organised system or database on local criminals, which they do now. They also have computers now which allows them to produce weekly intelligence bulletins and from intelligence you get arrests."

Last March, senior justice figures from Malawi were given a tour of the new police headquarters at Wymondham following which DCI Jelley and Inspector Dave Benfield travelled to Lilongwe to assist in the development of custody and crime investigation procedures to be piloted at a new station there.

The duo also visited an orphanage in the poverty-stricken city run by the Mother Teresa Foundation and have raised money for a new play area, the re-roofing of the building and new beds and mattresses. Boxes of teddies bought through local Rotarians will also be winging its way to the orphanage in the coming weeks.

Much of the day-to-day crime being tackled by police in Malawi is similar to that experienced in Norfolk, but the prevalence of guns make for a violent and very different criminal culture.

"Car-jacking is very common," said Mr Jelley. "One of the detective inspectors has been involved in an incident in which car-jackers opened fire with AK47s and the offender was shot and killed.

"You have a lot of surrounding countries with refugees who carry guns in from different war zones, so there are a lot of illegal firearms floating around."

Copyright © 2003 Archant Regional

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