Municipal Police in Lebanon is usually recruited according to basic criteria and without any specific qualifications. You don’t even need a bachelor degree to apply for that position and barely any training is conducted upon employment. As a result, Municipal police members:
– Cannot enforce municipal prerogatives as they are not aware of them.
– End up fulfilling Municipal Council President (MCP) and council’s members’ agendas (whether personal or public).
– Cannot properly serve citizens.
More importantly, most of us have no knowledge of these basic rights and end up fighting with the wrong people or simply refrain from reporting issues because we don’t know how and where. Take for example some of these situations that we face almost everyday in Lebanon:
– Valet guys parking illegally or reserving parking spots that are supposed to be public.
– Shops exhibiting their products on the sidewalk and blocking it.
– Illegally placed banners on electric poles and trees.
– Garbage thrown randomly near your shop or house.
– Illegal dumping by construction companies or factories.
– Construction sites working during prohibited times in residential areas.
– Cutting off trees illegally.
Since municipal elections are near, and in an attempt to develop the ‘human’ factor in public bodies to better serve citizens, a handbook entitled “NAMAZEJ” was designed, edited and printed by Lebanon Renaissance Foundation and will be distributed to more than 3,000 municipal police members during introductory sessions in all Lebanese mouhafazats under the direct auspices of their respective mouhafez. The booklet was endorsed by the Ministry of Interior and is available online for those interested. [NAMAZEJ]
The Municipal police has a very high level of interaction with the people and should be aware of these rights in order to better serve the municipality and citizens. The ultimate aim from this campaign is “to improve the citizens’ quality of daily life in various regions, and trigger positive change in local governance practices” and this can easily be achieved by obeying the law and knowing your rights.