- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian policemen train young children about police rules
- Date: 5th January 2009
- Summary: QALQILIA, WEST BANK (RECENT) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN GIRL HOLDING FLAG WRITTEN IN ARABIC AND ENGLISH, READING: "STOP" DURING TRAINING COURSE BY PALESTINIAN POLICEMEN CLOSE OF FEMALE STUDENT BLOWING WHISTLE DURING TRAINING STUDENT WEARING YELLOW VEST HOLDING SIGN WHILE STUDENTS WAIT TO CROSS STREET CLOSE OF SIGN WRITTEN IN ARABIC AND ENGLISH, READING: "STOP" STUDENTS WEARING YELLOW VESTS CROSSING STREET VARIOUS OF STUDENTS WEARING YELLOW VESTS DURING TRAINING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT TRAINEE, ASIL HASSAN, SAYING: "Our teacher, Mr. Farah, taught us, first of all, we had to organize traffic [pedestrians]. This training session lasted for 10 days and we were taught how to [help] pedestrians cross the street." MALE STUDENT WEARING YELLOW VEST AND HOLDING STOP SIGN DURING TRAINING CLOSE OF MALE STUDENT'S FACE FEMALE STUDENT HOLDING STOP SIGN WHILE YOUNG STUDENTS CROSS STREET POLICE CAR POLICEMAN TRAINING STUDENT SEVERAL POLICEMEN WITH STUDENTS DURING TRAINING / STUDENTS IN YELLOW VESTS CROSSING STREET
- Embargoed: 20th January 2009 12:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVACSEKOP24C0BWQV572HPZRDOLH
- Story Text: Palestinian police officers rubbed shoulders with young students during a training course designed to create understanding of police work while reinforcing trust between residents and police in the West Bank city of Qalqilia.
The project, which started in many Northern West Bank schools, is supported by donations from the US Consular Office in the West Bank as part of it's cultural projects in the region.
Palestinian police exerted control over many West Bank towns last year, taking over in areas long established as prime territory for hooded gunmen and their automatic rifles.
Now, with the aid of Western-backed funding, dozens of young trainees partook in the training session.
"Our teacher, Mr. Farah, taught us, first of all, we had to organize traffic [pedestrians]. This training session lasted for 10 days and we were taught how to [help] pedestrians cross the street," said Asil Hassan, one of the students taking part in the course.
The security drive, demanded by many Palestinians and seen by Israel as a prerequisite for peace, has seen green-bereted security officers bent on enforcing law and order emerge from the chaos of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
"The importance of this project is to break the barrier between us [policemen] and the students, as well as instilling confidence in the students as they stand along pedestrian lines to secure the entrance and exit of students from their school," said Raed Jidawi, the Head of Traffic Police in Qalqilia.
Palestinian police were traditionally poorly paid, weakened by Israeli raids and their firepower outclassed by gunmen allied to family clans and factions. For years, many were either in the pockets of West Bank gangsters or simply did not bother to turn up for work.
Now they are beginning to win support on the streets and are receiving better pay, training and weapons provided under a plan by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government in an attempt to hunt down criminal gangs and restore law and order in the Occupied Territories.
For the first time last year, residents greeted police with hugs and flowers as they stepped up their presence in neighbourhoods that typically had no police presence because they were being controlled by gangs.
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