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Cablegate: The Congolese National Police: Unpaid and Poorly Paid, But

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O R 081451Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0015
INFO RWANDA COLLECTIVE
SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

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STATE FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA, AF/C, INL/AAE, INL/CIV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC PINS SOCI MASS KCRM INTERPOL CG
SUBJECT: THE CONGOLESE NATIONAL POLICE: UNPAID AND POORLY PAID, BUT
SIGNS THAT CHANGE MAY COME

1. (SBU) Summary: The PNC is a ragtag police force whose members
receive an average monthly salary of $16. But the winds of change
may be blowing. According to its executive secretary, the PNC has
developed a 15-year modernization plan and is working with
international donors to implement it, including as a first step the
completion of a census of PNC members. Based on the results of the
census, police staffing levels will be adjusted to meet the
nation's needs. Also anticipated are salary increases and training
for recruits. Even with assistance from the international
community, making the PNC a real police force will be a lengthy and
arduous process. End comment.

How the PNC is organized

------------------------

2. (U) The Congolese National Police (Police Nationale Congolaise
-- PNC) is the national police force of the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC). The PNC was created on April 22, 1997, after Laurent
Kabila assumed power. The organization consists of six
departments: the Guard Brigade (Brigade de Garde - protection of
embassies, government offices, and ministries); Criminal Police;
the Directorate of Safety and General Information (Direction des
Renseignements Generaux et Securite -- police investigation, drug
enforcement, and intelligence); Traffic Police; Quick Reaction
Police (riot control); and Provincial Inspections (manages all
police duties). The PNC is currently under the leadership of
General John Numbi. It is estimated that the national police force
has approximately 150,000 officers. Since its inception, the PNC
has been understaffed, underpaid, lacked training, and accused of
committing human rights violations. However, the DRC government
(GDRC) is collaborating with the European Union to institute
necessary organizational reforms, so the PNC can become a modern
and professional security force.

3. (SBU) Low wages, which are not paid regularly, are one of the
root causes of the systematic corruption that exists throughout the
ranks of the PNC. The average monthly salary of a police officer
is 16 USD. Police officers are compelled to harass and "shake
down" the local population for bribes in order to supplement their
meager salaries. This causes the PNC to lose its credibility in
the eyes of the local citizenry. Furthermore, the GDRC's lack of a
reliable salary payment system enables senior echelons of the PNC
to embezzle officers' salaries. Paying PNC officers a living wage
and ensuring that this money ends up in their hands will go a long
way in professionalizing the organization.

Lack of training and education

------------------------------

4. (SBU) Lack of training and education for police officers are
also serious obstacles in the modernization of the PNC. It is
estimated that only 25 percent of the police force are graduates of
local universities. Many officers cannot read or speak French, and
can only communicate in Lingala, an African language widely spoken
in the western DRC. Also, the PNC does not have an institution or
program to train its cadets. Untrained recruits have to purchase
their uniforms before being given their assignments. Police
officers are often seen with corroding weapons or simply empty
holsters and handcuff holders. Senior officers are unconcerned
with the welfare and training of their subordinates, but are more
interested in the fringe benefits of their status.

5. (SBU) The shortcomings of the PNC can be corrected, but it will
take Congolese leadership, time, patience, and funding. The GDRC
has shown signs of commitment to effect changes to its national
police force. General Michel Elesse Yombentole, a former member of
the Congolese military and the PNC's Executive Secretary, informed
RSO that GDRC has already begun the initial phase of its 15-year

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plan to transform the organization. Due to the fact that the GDRC
does not have an accurate count of its police officers (the number
fluctuates between 100,000 and 250,000), the first step is to
conduct a nationwide census. This will be a long and tedious
exercise. The GDRC then plans to increase the size of the police
force in order to adequately police Africa's third largest country
(more than 900,000 square miles or roughly equivalent to the U.S.
east of the Mississippi River).

Plans for higher wages and more training

----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The PNC also hopes that higher wages will attract better
educated recruits and deter officers from engaging in criminal
activities. The Government plans to institute a formal training
program and upgrade the police equipment inventory. (Note: The
Department of State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs is in the second year of a police training
program to develop a border control directorate, and in CY 2010
will begin a SGBV-sensitization training program for police
officers. End note.)

7. (SBU) Comment: An effective police force is essential to the
revitalization of the DRC. Professionalization, if achieved, would
have a trickle-down effect on society at large It is therefore
encouraging to see the GDRC's interest in professionalizing and
modernizing its police force. This is particularly true since the
PNC has been implicated in numerous human rights violations.
Although many in the Government talk about modernizing the PNC, the
GDRC has historically placed a higher priority on its military
rather than its police force, as demonstrated by the fact that the
PNC's two most senior officers (Numbi and Yombentole) are former
FARDC generals. Even with assistance from the international
community, making the PNC a real police force will be a lengthy and
arduous process. End comment.
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