A Bedfordshire police inspector who returned from a year training police in war-torn Afghanistan says the lessons he learnt will assist greatly with his job back home.
Local Policing (Operations) Inspector Clive Hewett gained a valuable insight into southern Asian culture, which he will draw on when on patrol and speaking to residents in multi-
Clive accepted the 12-month secondment to Kabul as part of the European Union’s Policing Mission to Afghanistan (EUPol).
A large part of his work involved sharing local practice with Afghan officers and showing them how they could apply it to local needs and demands.
In addition to training local officers in community engagement and policing techniques, he was specially selected by the UN Development Programme and NATO Training Mission to Afghanistan to develop a Community Policing Programme for senior leaders. This programme became their single consolidated training package across the country.
Clive then went on to develop and deliver Community Policing training for Afghan National
Police strategic leaders.
His work involved regularly driving across the city in an armoured vehicle with up to four other passengers. They were equipped with weapons, medical packs, body armour, protective helmets and grab bags containing supplies should something untoward happen.
It was stressful, but working with the Afghan people was an unforgettable experience, he said.
It helped him attain a Post Graduate Certificate in Conflict and Development, which he will now draw on during his day-to-day work in Bedfordshire.
Clive said: “Being a good police officer involves empathising and understanding. I learned a great deal about the Afghan people, their way of life and cultural differences. I also worked alongside officers from across Europe, Canada and Australia which gave me a unique insight into their policing perspectives.
“I aim to apply the lessons I learned at every opportunity now I am back in Bedfordshire. By doing so, I hope to engage even more effectively with our diverse local communities and ensure their needs are listened to.
“Irrespective of culture, politics, religion and language, community policing is exactly the same in Afghanistan as it is here in Bedfordshire. We are all working towards the common goal of fighting crime and protecting the public.”
He added: “It was a great honour to work on this important project, which became their single consolidated training programme for forces across Afghanistan.”
Insp Hewett’s service in Afghanistan was recognised at Bedfordshire Police’s annual awards ceremony, Kempston Headquarters where he was presented with the Civilian Service Medal and Common Security and Defence Policy Service Medal.