Mark Thakler Batun has been working with MYPOL since 2017 to support the project’s community policing component. The pandemic has certainly created new challenges, but Mark says his focus is still the same.

“Although the nature of the work has changed,” said Mark, “the core concepts of Community Policing still remain.”

Those concepts include ensuring police can still safely interact with the public in order to build the trust needed to better prevent and solve crimes. In response to the challenges of Community Policing during COVID-19, Mark has helped distribute PPE, guidance booklets, information posters, and skills development exercise booklets.

“The MPF and the public have been happy with MYPOL’s support, especially during difficult times due to the health and safety restrictions,” Mark said. “The PPE could not have come at a better time for the Yangon Region Police.”

But the real success behind Mark’s work is not giving out supplies and equipment – it’s been the ongoing communication with the MPF and MYPOL’s CSO partners. Before the pandemic, MYPOL had established strong partnerships with the police and communities. This has allowed for good working relationships during difficult times.   

For example, crimes like cyber bullying are on the rise right now. A CSO partner contacted Mark for help in working with the cybercrime police to address this. Other community partners have asked him how to get more PPE to the police and he was able to give advice and help them get in touch with the right people. 

Though MYPOL’s work has shifted to address the needs of COVID-19, Mark’s experience highlights how the core of the project has remained the same: helping the Myanmar Police Force’s transformation into a modern policing service that is trusted by Myanmar’s many different communities.

Marks believes that, although the pandemic has been difficult, it will help remind the MPF and communities of how they can adapt to changes and address challenges even during trying times.