The Ambassador of the European Union to Myanmar, Mr. Kristian Schmidt, recently met with trainees in MYPOL’s latest training on Community Policing. The “training of trainers” course for police officers from across the country focuses on methods to develop trustfing partnerships between the police and communities. The participants are expected to pass their knowledge onto their colleagues across Myanmar. Around the world, Community Policing methods have been key in changing attitudes about police officers and police services, and have had a significant impact on increasing public safety and preventing crime.

At the beginning of the visit, the ambassador, along with the EU’s Head of Cooperation Johann Hesse and Programme Manager Anouk Van Neck, joined the 22 trainees as they watched one MPF officer deliver a lesson on prejudice and discrimination.

The lieutenant giving the lesson focused on the so-called “Allport Scale”, which visualises the effects of prejudice in a society – moving from Hate Speech all the way up to Extermination. He explained how, with this understanding of prejudice and discrimination, police officers can be conscious of their own shortcomings when interacting with the public. Lessons like this are a key part of MYPOL’s Community Policing training as such an understanding helps police officers to better connect with citizens and improve service-orientated policing. As MYPOL teaches these officers, Community Policing is not merely a method police can use, but an overall ideology that should be applied to all aspects and branches of police work.

Ambassador Schmidt also met with Police Colonel Myo Kyi and discussed the EU’s commitment to support police reform in Myanmar. “We are determined to continue to work together for progress during Myanmar’s transition and to ensure a modern police service.” The ambassador also pointed to the positive impact that Community Policing had in building trusting relations between citizens and police services across Europe.

After the training, Ambassador Schmidt asked the trainees how they felt about the training. One captain said “This training will make a difference in our workplace. It is very good,” while a lieutenant suggested that all officers – from very senior to the bottom ranks – should have this training. “It is good for everyone,” he said. “It should be a standard part of the curriculum for all police in Myanmar.”

MYPOL has been delivering Emotional Intelligence trainings for law enforcement officers since November 2017 as the first step in developing a Community Policing approach. Two hundred and twenty Myanmar police officers from across the country have undergone the training of trainers course and are expected to go to to share their knowledge with their peers.