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The Namibian Police, in conjunction with UNESCO, concluded a training of trainers workshop titled 'Project on Training Security Forces in Promoting Freedom of Expression and the Safety of Journalists'.

Over 54 participants were trained at the Israel Patrick Iyambo Police College in the capital.

Among the training's main aims were to improve the working relationship between media and law enforcement agencies and reinforce citizen trust in the police force.

Media practitioners joined on the last two days of the broader five-day training workshop for police officers from all fourteen regions of the country.

During the closing day, mock exercises role-playing pretend protest situations formed part of the training meant to prepare journalists, police liaison officers, and the riot squad on how to handle future protest situations.

At the closing ceremony, the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant-General Joseph Shikongo, in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, had some guiding words for the participants.

"I should encourage you to go out there and put into practice what you have learned to the best of your ability; your newly gained knowledge should not end with you, but you should ensure that it is shared with your colleagues and subordinates for the benefit of the entire Namibian police force."

He also shared a word of advice with media practitioners, saying that freedom of expression should be accompanied by responsible reporting.

A police expert for UNESCO, Phillipe Perez, had this to say: "We have to go from the words to the acts; we are cousins in the same family."

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Lahia Hatutale