Somaliland Police armoury rehabilitation project

In April and May of 2011 the HALO Trust rehabilitated two armouries of the Somaliland Police in Hargeisa. The first was the armoury at the Special Police Unit (SPU), and the second was at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

HALO carried out this armoury rehabilitation project following a request from the Somaliland authorities. This request comes at a time when the Somaliland Police are undergoing a program of restructuring and expansion, which has meant that many armories across Somaliland are not big enough or secure enough to properly store weapons and ammunition safely.

HALO extensively rehabilitated the old armoury building at the SPU and constructed a new armory at the CID to replace a 20 foot shipping container that the CID had been using to store their weapons and ammunition. HALO made significant physical improvements to the armoury at the SPU and introduced weapons' registration procedures in line with United Nations Coordinating Action on Small Arms (UN CASA) standards.

The armory HALO constructed at the CID included similar security features, and has provided a storage facility for 100 weapons and also a room where weapons as evidence from criminal investigation cases can be stored.

Control and storage of weapons at both armouries has been improved by the use of a separate key safe, new and improved weapons racks, and systems of weapons' registration and a booking in and out procedure. As part of the project, HALO also ran a training course for a selection of Police officers in weapons management and armory control procedures.

At the handover ceremonies of the two rehabilitated armouries the Deputy Police Commissioner of Somaliland, Abdi Rahman Liban, highlighted the importance of HALO’s work by saying:

“HALO’s armoury rehabilitation has significantly improved the security of the weapons and I hope HALO will continue to help the Somaliland Police”. The Commander of the SPU also spoke thanking HALO “not only for the improvements to the armoury but also for the training of the Police officers which has improved the control of the weapons at the SPU.”

At the handover ceremony of the CID armory the CID handed over to HALO two weapons which the CID requested HALO to destroy using HALO’s mobile weapons cutting shears. These purpose-built shears have a unique jaw design that firmly grips the weapon during cutting, and the jaws have sufficient power to cut through the "working parts" of all known assault rifles, and also the barrels of 12.7mm machine guns. HALO has cut over 130,000 weapons since 2003 using these shears as part of the DDR program in Afghanistan and the Government Disarmament campaign in Angola.

The armory rehabilitation project builds on a successful survey of Police ammunition stores undertaken by HALO in 2009-10. HALO teams visited over 100 Police stores across all six regions of Somaliland, which was the first comprehensive survey of Police stores to have ever been conducted in the country. With further armoury and stores improvements undoubtedly required HALO believes it can continue to play a significant role in the future to help the Somaliland Police improve their weapons storage facilities and the training of their officers.

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