Photo: HelpAge International An innovative scheme in Kyrgyzstan is aiming to develop a police force dedicated to meeting the needs of older people.
Funded by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the project "Karynyn kebin kapka sal" (improving public safety through working with older people) will contribute to the ongoing police reform in the Kyrgyz republic.
Strengthening bonds between police and older people
Twenty older people's groups from Chuy province and the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, have been identified as the main target group for the scheme. Activities to enhance police personnel skills and reduce the fear of crime include:
- improving the way neighbourhood inspectors communicate with older community members
- identifying potential security and safety risks faced by the older people in the area
- raising public awareness of older people's rights and community policing services
- introducing public safety seminars for children led by older people and juvenile delinquency inspectors to promote children's rights and safety.
Older people nominated best inspectors
On 23 November a competition took place to mark "Neighbourhood Inspector Day" as part of the project. Older people from Chuy province and Bishkek evaluated the work of the inspectors from their police departments.
The older people's groups nominated inspectors for "most friendly and responsive", "most active" and "friend of the older people" categories.
The jury comprised of senior police officials, heads of local self-government bodies, representatives from the neighbourhood watch and HelpAge International. The winner in the main category "best neighbourhood inspector" received a digital camera. Other category winners also received honorary certificates and prizes.
Wisdom and life experience respected
Eppu Mikkonen-Jeanneret, Regional Representative for HelpAge International in Eastern Europe and Central Asia says:
"Support and positive feedback from older people is extremely important for the neighbourhood inspectors. Older people, with a vast amount of life experience, are respected because of their wisdom and their wishes are valued."