City cops will be studied by their Egyptian counterparts next month as they explore the concept of community policing.
“The demands of police all over the world are really, really complex, and they’re increasingly complex,” said Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Isobel Granger, who is coordinating the visit.
Chief Charles Bordeleau will be hosting the delegation of senior officers.
Egyptian police were at the forefront of the Arab Spring in January 2011 as thousands of protesters raged against then-President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for three decades.
Police in Alexandria, Cairo, and Suez fired tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and live ammunition at demonstrators to keep them from advancing toward key central areas.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health estimated 846 people died in January and February alone that year, Human Rights Watch reported.
Allegations of police and military brutality continued even after Mubarak’s government was toppled, with the army commandeering law enforcement.
Mubarak, behind bars in Cairo following a conviction for ordering the killing of peaceful protesters, has appealed a life sentence and is awaiting a new trial.
Under Islamist President Mohammed Morsi for less than 12 months, protesters and police are still at odds.
As recently as last week, video footage was captured of riot police stripping and beating a man, then dragging him, sparking an uproar over continued torture and abuse.
Activists opposing Morsi charge he’s mirroring Mubarak.
Now, the Egyptians are looking at other philosophies.
The relationship with OPS was established during a sexual gender-based violence workshop Granger put on for cops from Egypt, Libya, and Liberia.
“They’re all empowering their officers to be able to respond adequately,” said Granger.
Community policing involves working closely with residents and other stakeholders, creating a proactive model of problem-solving, such as implementing a Neighbourhood Watch program.
Reducing preventable crime and the fear of it, enhancing a sense of cooperation and responsibility between neighbours, encouraging the reporting of crime or suspicious activity, strengthening police community relationships, and improving the level of security are all part of the equation, as defined by the Community Policing Advisory Council of Ontario.
Ottawa is on a list of cities Egyptian officials are touring.
“The idea is that at the end of it, they’ll assess and evaluate the information they’ve gathered, look at where they’re at, and see how to develop something that’s relevant to their needs,” said Granger.