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Somali Police Force

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Title: Somali Police Force  
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Subject: Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Somalia, Law enforcement in Somalia, Military of Somalia, National Intelligence and Security Agency
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Somali Police Force

Somali Police Force
Ciidanka Askarta Soomaaliya
قوة شرطة صومالية
Flag of the Somali Police Force
Agency overview
Formed 1960
Preceding agency Police Corps of Somalia (1943–1960)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Somalia
Governing body Government of Somalia
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Mogadishu
Elected officer responsible Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Minister of Defense
Agency executive Mohamed Sheikh Ismail, Chief of Police

The Somali Police Force (SPF) (Somali Armed Forces. After the start of the civil war in the early 1990s, the Somali Police Force essentially ceased to operate. The police force was later reconstituted at the start of the 21st century. As of August 2014, the Federal Government of Somalia is engaged in capacity-building for the SPF, with assistance provided by the U.S. Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.


In 1960, the [1] In its inception in 1960, Mohamed Abshir Muse became the first commander of the police force.

The late President of Somalia Siad Barre was among the senior officers and commanders formed under the colonial forces who led the Somali Police Force and Somali National Army after independence in 1960.[1]

Until its dissolution in 1976, the Ministry of Interior oversaw the Force's national commandant and his central command. After that date, the SPF came under the control of the presidential adviser on security affairs.[1]

Leadership and training

Under the parliamentary regime, police received training and material aid from West Germany, Italy, and the United States. Although the government used the police to counterbalance the Soviet-supported army, no police commander opposed the 1969 army coup.[1]

During the 1970s, German Democratic Republic (East Germany) security advisers assisted the SPF. After relations with the West improved in the late 1970s, West German and Italian advisers again started training police units.[1]

By the late 1970s, the SPF was carrying out an array of missions, including patrol work, traffic management, criminal investigation, intelligence gathering, and counter-insurgency. The elite mobile police groups consisted of the Daraawishta and the Birmadka Booliska (Riot Unit). The Daraawishta, a mobile unit that operated in remote areas and along the frontier, participated in the Ogaden War. The Birmadka acted as a crack unit for emergency action and provided honor guards for ceremonial functions.[1]

In 1961, the SPF established an air wing, equipped with Cessna light aircraft and one Douglas DC-3. The unit operated from improvised landing fields near remote police posts. The wing provided assistance to field police units and to the Daraawishta through the airlift of supplies and personnel and reconnaissance. During the final days of Barre's regime, the air wing operated two Cessna light aircraft and two DO-28 Skyservants.[1]


Each of the country's administrative regions had a police commandant; other commissioned officers maintained law and order in the districts. After 1972, the police outside Mogadishu comprised northern and southern group commands, divisional commands (corresponding to the districts), station commands, and police posts. Regional governors and district commissioners commanded regional and district police elements.[1]

Technical and specialized police units included the Tributary Division, the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), the Traffic Division, a Communications Unit, and a Training Unit. The CID, which operated throughout the country, handled investigations, fingerprinting, criminal records, immigration matters, and passports.[1]

In 1961, the SPF established a Women's Unit. Personnel assigned to this small unit investigated, inspected, and interrogated female offenders and victims. Policewomen also handled cases that involved female juvenile delinquents, ill or abandoned girls, prostitutes, and child beggars.[1]

Service units of the Somali police included the Gaadiidka Booliska (Transport Department) and the Health Service. The Police Custodial Corps served as prison guards. In 1971, the SPF created a fifty-man national Fire Brigade. Initially, the Fire Brigade operated in Mogadishu. Later, however, it expanded its activities into other towns, including Kismayo, Hargeisa, Berbera, Merca, Jowhar and Beledweyne.[1]

Personnel and training

Beginning in the early 1970s, police recruits had to be seventeen to twenty-five years of age, of high moral caliber, and physically fit. Upon completion of six months of training at the National Police Academy in Mogadishu, those who passed an examination would serve two years on the force.[1]

After the recruits completed this service, the police could request renewal of their contracts. Officer cadets underwent a nine-month training course that emphasized supervision of police field performance.[1]

Daraawishta members, or modern Dervishes, attended a six-month tactical training course. Birmadka personnel received training in public order and riot control.[1]

New Somali Police Force

After the collapse of the Barre government and the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991, both the Daraawishta and Birmadka forces essentially ceased to operate.[1]

With the start of the 21st century, a new police force was re-established.[2] The Armo Police Academy, the first such training institute to be built in Somalia for several years, opened on December 20, 2005 at Armo, 100 kilometres south of Bosaso.[3] The SPF also has a Criminal Investigative Division (CID) in Mogadishu.[4]

Stig Jarle Hansen argued in 2007 that although the UNDP was financially supported by the governments of the United States and Norway, it repeatedly failed to ensure payment to the Somalia police force that it at the time provided training to. He suggests that this led to a high desertion rate of over 100%, as a majority of unpaid TFG policemen and soldiers abandoned their posts after only a few months before defecting. Hansen alleges that the UNDP's unsuccessful rule of law project and TFG policies created a situation whereby the soldiers who remained in service then resorted to pillaging and theft to sustain themselves, and squabbled over the little funds that were earmarked for them.[5]

On 17 June 2009, Mogadishu's police chief Colonel Ali Said was killed during an attack on insurgent bases in the capital.[6]

In June 2011, the Somali Police Force was given the responsibility of security in Km 4, Guriga Shaqalaha, Isgoyska Dabka and Makka Almukara road. The police also established posts in all of the Transitional Federal Government-controlled districts of Mogadishu.[7]

Since the Al-Shabaab Islamist militants were forced from the capital in August 2011, the police has been conducting investigations and arrests to firm up on security. Officers are trained locally, with the SPF working closely with the Somali Armed Forces to enforce the law. According to Police Commissioner Maya, the SPF expects to have an independent, fully established and well-equipped force following the end of the transitional period in August 2012.[8] Turkey has also offered to train SPF officials to strengthen the police's enforcement capacity.[9]

The United Nations Secretary General reported on 31 January 2013 that:[10]

The United Nations continued to support the activities of the Somali Police Force, including the formulation of a strategic development plan. UNPOS facilitated the procurement of equipment and furniture for 10 police stations in Mogadishu and police headquarters and provided training to 38 Somali Police Force drivers and 5 fleet managers. UNDP continued to pay police stipends to 5,388 Somali Police Force officers on duty in Mogadishu, Baidoa and Galmudug, courtesy of the Government of Japan and the European Union. A total of 4,463 Somali Police Force officers were registered in Mogadishu using the biometric registration system, completing the registration for the capital.


In February 2014, a visiting delegation from Somalia led by Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed met in Addis Ababa with Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. Hailemariam Desalegn pledged his administration's continued support for the peace and stabilization efforts in Somalia, as well as its preparedness to assist in initiatives aiming to build up the Somali security forces through experience-sharing and training. The meeting concluded with a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to promote partnership and cooperation, including a cooperative agreement to develop the police force.[11]

In August 2014, the Somali and U.S. governments reached an agreement in Washington, D.C. stipulating that the United States would contribute $1.9 million toward security sector reform, development and capacity-building efforts in Somalia. The pact was signed by Finance Minister of Somalia Hussein Abdi Halane, U.S. Special Representative for Somalia James P. McAnulty, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Todd Robinson. It is primarily slated to provide support to the Somali National Police Force's Criminal Investigative Division (CID), with an emphasis on implementing policies, practices and procedures that buttress citizen services and human rights. The INL will fund the initiative.[4]


Chief of the Somali Police

Name Took Office Left Office Note
General Abdi Hasan Awale "Qeybdiid"
General Ali Mohamed Hassan "Ali Madobe" 30 March 2011
General Shariif Sheekhuna Maye[12] 30 March 2011
General Abdihakim Dahir Said "Saacid" 20 May 2013 9 July 2014 [13]
General Mohamed Sheikh Ismail[14] 9 July 2014 30 October 2014[15]
General Osman Omar Wehliye 30 October 2014[15] Incumbent Interim Police Chief

Commissioners of the Somali Police

Name Took Office Left Office Note
General Ali Hassan Mohamed "Looyaan" 16 March 2011 Replaced
General Osman Omar Wehliye 16 March 2011 30 October 2014[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "STATE SECURITY SERVICES - Somali Police Force (SPF)". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Martino, John (2013). Worldwide Government Directory with Intergovernmental Organizations 2013. CQ Press. p. 1462.  
  3. ^ New Police Academy Opens in Somalia
  4. ^ a b "Somalia and US signs agreement to support Somali police reforms". Goobjoog. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Stig Jarle Hansen, Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamic Group 2005-12, Hurst & Co., 2013, p.55.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Interview with Mogadish Police Chief - Police Making Gains, Want Public Support
  9. ^ Unleashing people power in Somalia
  10. ^ United Nations Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia, 31 JAnuary 2013, S/2013/69, para 28 p.6
  11. ^ "Ethiopia: The Prime Minister of Somalia On a Visit to Ethiopia". Government of Ethiopia. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Somali%20police%3A%20We%20are%20committed%20decimating%20al%20Shabaab%20from%20the%20capital
  14. ^ "Somalia Fires Security Officials After Mogadishu Attack". Haberler. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c "Abdiwali Sheekh appoints Osman Gasgas as the Interim Police Chief". Goobjoog. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 


  • Library of Congress Country Studies, Country Study - Somalia, May 1992
  • Stig Jarle Hansen, Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamic Group 2005-12, Hurst & Co., 2013

Further reading

  • Alice Hills (2014) Security Sector or Security Arena? The Evidence from Somalia, International Peacekeeping, 21:2, 165-180, DOI:10.1080/13533312.2014.910400

External links

  • Somali Police Force
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