HERAT -- Herat residents are working more closely with police to help curb crime and terrorism in the area, reflecting citizens' growing confidence in local security forces, authorities say.
In the past year, more than 4,000 incident reports came from civilians in Herat Province through the 119 police call centre, all of which drew a response by the police, said Sayed Hamid Hashmi, director of the 119 unit of Herat Police Headquarters.
Reports received by the call centre were related to security issues such as terrorist attacks, Taliban activities, illegal drugs, kidnappings and armed robberies in Herat city and nearby districts.
"Herat Police were able to prevent more than 4,000 crimes in the past year by having direct contact and reporting from residents," he said. "Hundreds of suspects have been arrested in relation to these incidents."
Hashmi added that compared with previous years, contact between residents and the police has increased, reflecting citizens' growing confidence in local law enforcement.
He added that most of the callers contacting the 119 call centre to report security issues are women.
Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for the governor of Herat, said that confidence of local residents in security forces in Herat Province has never been higher, adding that this has led to improved security.
"Civilians are seriously fed up with insecurity and the activities of terrorist groups in Herat," he said. "Wherever they are faced with insecurity or suspicious individuals, they report it to the police to prevent the loss of life of civilians and security forces."
The increased reporting of security problems by Herat residents and their higher confidence in security forces reflect their general hatred of war and the activities of terrorist and criminal groups, he added.
"Service delivery by the government to the public in Herat Province has helped bring it [the public] closer to the government," Farhad said. "Besides providing thousands of jobs, large-scale economic and reconstruction projects in Herat city and area districts have led to improved lives."
Thwarting terror attacks
Residents of Herat Province agreed that the tighter co-operation with the police and other security forces has helped prevent terrorist attacks and vowed to continue this collaboration.
Civilians co-operate with police because they want to protect themselves from terrorists, armed robbers and other dangerous individuals, said Abdulahad, a resident of Shindand District who goes by only one name.
"Co-operation between the public and police is very important. They must work together," he said. "Civilians must report to the police when they see a robber or an irresponsible armed individual in order to prevent insecurity."
"The police cannot be present everywhere and guard every house," he added. "When civilians do not co-operate with the police, insecurity and terrorist activities increase. But when they do work together, any kind of insecurity can be prevented."
Aiding the security and defence forces is the moral duty of every citizen and Afghans must work with them to help stop the violent activities of terrorists, said Qasem Sadaat, a resident of Herat city.
"As security forces work day and night to maintain our security by shielding us against terrorists and enemies, they must be supported," he added. "If it weren't for security forces, neighbouring countries and terrorist groups would choose Afghanistan as a safe haven, in which case life would become impossible for everyone."
"Civilians should report any suspicious and armed individuals or other incidents so that the security forces are informed and able to prevent the death of innocent people," he said.
A reduction in crime
"In order to achieve their goals, the Taliban and terrorist groups try to commit killings and explode bombs," said Fazel Ahmad Naemi, a resident of Herat city. "But security forces are present in the city and districts day and night, preventing the activities of terrorist groups with public support."
"Security forces, especially the police, work hard to maintain our security. We have full confidence in their ability to thwart any terrorist activity and insecurity," he added. "Everyone should play his [or her] role and not allow terrorist and criminal groups to achieve their objectives."
Aided by the increased co-operation between Herat resident and police, crime in the province has decreased by 36% in the last year, according to local authorities.
Col. Obaidullah Noorzai, chief of the Herat Police, said that in the months of April and May, 591 criminals were arrested in Herat city, with almost 200 different types of guns being confiscated.
"Many of these criminals were arrested through the co-operation of residents. People made a complaint, they provided addresses where incidents were occurring, and this contact between the police and citizens resulted in arrests," he said.
"I know that we do not have thousands of police personnel, but I am sure that [because of the help of citizens] it means we have more than a million police officers because civilians have confidence in the security forces. They contact the police because an environment of trust has been built," Noorzai added.