Islamabad – A team from the New York City Police Department is in Pakistan as part of an initiative to build stronger ties among the police officers and their community of Pakistan and the United States.
The ongoing visit of officers from the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau is an opportunity for American and Pakistani law enforcement professionals to exchange knowledge about concrete ways to foster positive and productive relations between the police and the communities they serve.
Along with members from the Pakistani Police, Pakistan Cricket Board and local youth groups, NYPD officials participated in a youth cricket skills camp at a local ground in Islamabad this week to promote cultural linkages.
“In Pakistan and the United States, young people bear the promise of the future, the police are an integral part of ensuring that we all have the security necessary to work toward that future, and sports unite us across social, economic, and political barriers,” said U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Jonathan Pratt while welcoming the participants.
More than one hundred students and police then completed cricket drills together, prior to a 10-on-10 match between the police and youth.
“This cricket camp helped show the youth participants that police officers aren’t outsiders to be feared, but community members who are here to support them,” NYPD Detective Elvis Vukelj said. “These types of sports activities can help both American and Pakistani police to engage constructively with our communities.”
It is only through interactive community participation that both the Pakistani police and their NYPD counterparts improve their overall ability to address crime proactively, a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan said.
Sports programs are a core component of achieving this objective, allowing the police to engage constructively with youth, women, and other key audiences in Pakistan and the United States. Using sports as a tool, police officers can break down barriers and develop lasting ties with their communities to provide the security necessary to support economic, political, and social prosperity for all.
The U.S. government invests more than $30 million each year in grant programs that promote cultural exchange between the United States and Pakistan through sports, visual and performing arts, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, and a variety of other areas.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has a long history of cooperation with Pakistani police. Since 2002, INL has provided assistance to police in all four of Pakistan’s provinces and Islamabad; levies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); and federal law enforcement organizations. INL projects have focused on areas such as developing training curricula, enhancing the capacity of female officers, and building operational capabilities.