LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan -- Royal Military Police with Theater Provost Group have been busy recently helping turn Afghan locals into Afghan Local Police at Patrol Base Bolan-T, Lashkar Gah District, Helmand province.
The military police run a ten-day course that helps an average of 20 Afghan locals per class with little to no knowledge of policing become trained ALP officers able to handle the security needs of their home communities.
“The Afghan Local Police is a great success story,” said Lance Cpl. Marcel Gallinger, a policeman with 30 Commando, Royal Police Troop, and a native of Cornwall, England. “These are people from the area who are selected by the community that want to protect it.”
The ALP are selected by the local populace in their home communities. Having the community select its own security personnel provides natural advantages, including a more local relationship with citizens. The ALP also know the local community and are able to identify suspicious or unwelcome activity and deal with local issues more easily.
When a community is ready to stand-up an ALP station, the Royal Military Police trainers travel to the nearest PB to the community to conduct the training course. There the selectees learn the basics of policing including Afghan law, counter-narcotics, improvised explosive device identification, weapons familiarization, and first aid.
“It is great to see how much the Afghan locals seem so intrigued to learn,” said Gallinger. “At the end of the training we have an exercise where they have to use all the skills they have been taught to be applied in a training environment.”
The final exercise entails searching personnel, looking for IED’s and treating simulated casualties. The ALP trainees have to react to simulated attacks and small arms fire and set up security to counteract the threat. They also need to demonstrate an ability to identify evidence and properly handle it.
After completing the training the new Afghan Local Police officers are assigned to stations in their home communities, where they are further mentored by more seasoned officers.
“We give them basics on how to conduct themselves professionally and ethically,” said Gallinger. “Once they get to their stations they will continue to learn from more senior personnel who have more experience.”
With the turnover of security responsibility in the Helmand capital District of Lashkar Gah from coalition forces to the Afghan National Security Forces July 17, the ALP will play an even more prominent role in their communities.
“The idea of the local police is a great tool for Afghanistan,” said Cpl. Andrew Misell, 111 Provost Company, Royal Military Police, and a native of Manchester, England. “They will work with other forces to prevent insurgent activity. They are the first line of defense for their communities.”