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Police Law



Challenge: Developing from a force, considered for too long to be part of the armed forces, to a service that maintains the peace, protects law and order and serves the public of Somaliland. Having a civilian police force (and prisons service) was the norm until after the independent State of Somaliland entered into a union with Somalia. The Military Dictatorship further entrenched the notion of a ‘militarised’ police force in its first police law, the 1972 Organisation of the Police Force Law, which also confirmed the repeal of the 1958 Somaliland Police Force law. We explore below the Somaliland police laws from the early formation of a civilian police force in the 19th century, but principally form the turn of the 20th century until the formation of a nation-wide force in 1927 to the updated police laws in the 1950s and through the period of union with Somalia to the post 1991 Somaliland police laws and the current 2017 Police Force Law which is undergoing further controversial amendments. It is our considered view that re-adoption of a Somaliland civilian police force,  is more in line with the Article 124 of the Somaliland Constitution and would solve some of the controversial issues that delayed the passage of a widely accepted police law”.



05 July 2019: The new consolidated Somaliland Police Force (Amendments and Additions) Law (Law No. 63/2013 (2019) which replaces the 2017 Law has, as set out in Article 50 of the Law come into force on its signature by the President on 17 May 2019 and was gazetted in a special issue of the Somaliland Gazette dated 1 June 2019. The gazetted copy of the law is available here: Xeerka Wax-ka-beddelka iyo Kaabista Xeerka Ciidanka Booliska -Xeer Lr. 63/2013 (2019)

 - A copy of the Law in Somali with the Arrangements of the Articles is available here: Xeerka Wax ka beddelka & Kaabista Xeerka Ciidanka Booliska (2019) SLLAW

Many article of the this amended Law are still the 2017 Law provisions which have been consolidated with the new amendments. We shall posting here and An English language transalation which will be largely based on our previous translation of the 2017 repealed law.


The Somaliland Police Force Law (Law No. 63/2013 (2017)) which came into force on its signature by the President on 24 December 2017 [REPEALED WITH EFFECT FROM 17 MAY 2019 - SEE ABOVE]. This copy of the Law includes our own addition of the arrangements of the articles in both Somali and English. The gazetted copy of the Law is also available here Xeerka Ciidanka Booliska Somaliland Lr. 63/2013(2017) [Repealed]


We have also prepared the following two Compilations (with introductions) of Somaliland’ s current and past police laws for reference:

  • Somaliland Police Force 2017 & Proposed 2018 Amendments Bill as well as other Current Police laws (110 pages): This includes an Introduction and Background of this Law ; The Somaliland Police Force Law – No. 65/2013 [English translation] with annotations, and our consolidation of the text of the Law and the Amendments Bill (in Somali)  passed by the House of Representatives (HoR) on 1 December 2017.  The other still current Somaliland police laws are also available in this Compilation.
  • Somaliland’s Past Police Laws 1913 - 1990 (88 pages): This includes ntroduction to the legal histoy of the Somaliland Police back to the end of the 19th Century and information about the first nation-wide Police Law of 1927 through to the updated 1950s police legislation of 1951 and 1958; the initial effects of the union with Somalia and the 1972/3 police legislation  that finally repealed the Somaliland police laws.

The central message is this: “It unlikely, In our view,  that some of the modest police accountability issues that the HoR was seeking to introduce can be achieved until we go back to the early 2011 version of Police Bill which aimed to re-instate a Somaliland civil, and not ‘military’ police force.  Sadly, the 2017 Law’s  unequivocal statements that the ‘Police Force shall …  form part of the armed forces of the Republic of Somaliland’ (Art. 5) and that  ‘[t]he President is, in accordance with Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland, the Commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Republic of Somaliland of which the Police Force forms a part’  appear not have been critically scrutinised by the House of Representatives (HoR) which was seeking other very modest reforms. A military force, by its nature, is accountable only to its command structure and ultimately to its commander in chief. Police forces in democratic countries appreciate legitimate monitoring by statutory or public non-police committees or individuals and accept the importance of such accountability to the cementing of good relations with the public. A return to modernised new  versions of the ‘civil’ police laws of Somaliland (which were finally only  repealed in 1972)  will ensure that the military dictatorship laws are finally swept away, as enjoined by Art. 13(5) of the Somaliland Constitution and will further strengthen the current good police-community relations. Additionally, repealing the outdated provisions of the Penal Code that are no longer in step with the provisions of the Somaliland Constitution would lessen police involvement in controversial issues.  It will also be  well worthwhile taking note of the modern developments of the (civilian) police laws of African and Asian commonwealth countries that, in the past,  had police laws similar to those of the 1960 State of Somaliland.’ FOR MORE SEE THE FOLLOWING: Introduction and Background of the 2017 Police Force Law – back to the basics


OLD  BELLOW - to be updated.

The Republic of Somaliland Police Force


 The Republic of Somaliland Police Force was re-established with effect from 2 November 1993. The  earlier laws relating to the Somaliland Police, as far as we can ascertain, were:

  1. The Law on the Structure of the Somaliland Police Force - Law No. 54 of 3 November 1994. This is a faint copy and we will be posting here a re-typed  copy with the amendments made to this Law by Law No. 7/95 (below) also noted therein as  Arts 1, 4,5,6,7 and 9 of the 1994 Law were amended by the 1995 Law.  
  2. Somaliland Police Establishment (Amendment) Law - Law No. 7/95 amending the 1994 Structure Law, as well as Arts. 2, 13 and 14 of the 1995 Regulations (below) .
  3. The Somaliland Police Regulations 1995 (Regulations No. RSLP/D-1.131/95) consisting of 88 Articles cover all aspects of the police force establishment, structure and ranks, recruitment, condition of service, discipline etc. The Regulations include provisions similar to both the 1972 Police Law and thNOTE: These laws have to be read now with the provisions of the new 2017 Somliland Police Force Law (see below)



    The current ranks of the Somaliland Police Force which were fully implemented in 2013 are those set out in Article 19 of the Somaliland Police Regulations 1995 (see below) which  follow the military ranks and are briefly as follows:

    • General Officers (Brigadier General and above ) (In Somali,  Sareeye Guuto  ),
    • Senior Officers (Colonel [Gaashaanle Sare], Lt. Colonel [Gaashaanle Dhexe]and Major [Gaashaanle])
    • Junior Officers (Captain [Dhamme], Lieutenant [Laba xidigle] and Second or sub-Lieutenant [Xidigle])
    • Inspectors (III, II and I) [Kormeere 3aad, 2aad iyo 1aad) ranking in this descending order;
    • Sergeants [Saddex Alifle] and Corporals [Laba Alifle];
    • Recruit Officers [Layli Sarkaal];
    • Dablay (meaning ‘riflemen’ or ‘soldiers’ as these are essentially military ranks)  consisting of one-stripe corporals [Alifle], Dable  (the main Police rank) and Recruit Dable [Layli Dable] are now all referred to as ‘Askari’ in the Police Bill which reflects the term most commonly used for members of the Force with no rank) .

    July 2014: Presidential Decree (No. 0403/072014 of 5 July 2014) on the Establishment of the Somaliland National Fire Brigade which comes under the Police Command and shall have same rank structure as the Police Force. The Commander and the Deputy Commander of the Fire Brigade, shall, according to the Decree, be appointed by the Commandant of the Police Force, on the advice of the Minister of Internal Affairs. This appears to suggest that serving Police Officers would be appointed by the Commandant, as under the draft Police Law, Police officers of second lieutenant rank and above are appointed under a Presidential decree. The practice of the Fire Brigade being part of the Police Force goes back to the pre 1991 position

    The Somaliland Police Regulations 1995:

    The following table sets out the provisions of the Somaliland Police Regulations 1995 (large file) in sections of 5 to 6 scanned pages each:



      Qaybta 1: Eray Bixinta & Dhismaha

      Definition & (Overall) Structure

      Qod 1 - 2



      Bogga 1 - 5

      Qaybta  2: Magacaabidda, Qorisita & Shaqada Ciidanka Boliiska

      Appointments, Recruitment & the Work of the Police Force

      Qod. 3 - 13

      Qaybta 3: Qaab-dhismeedka Ciidanka Boliiska

      The Structure of the Police Force

      Qod. 14 - 21


      Bogga 6 - 10

      Qaybta 4: Arrimaha Ciidanka

      Conditions of Service of the Force

      Qod. 22- 28

      Qaybta 5: Xaalada Shaqada

      Service Matters

      Qod. 29 - 43

      Bogga 11 - 16

      Qaybta 6: Dalacaada


      Qod. 44 - 51


      Bogga 17 - 21

      Qaybta 7: Fasaxa, Mushaharka & Xaaladah Xubnaha

      Leave, Pay & the Status of the Members

      Qod. 52 - 63

      Qaybta 8: Asluubta


      Qod. 64 - 69



      Bogga 22 - 26


      Qaybta 9: Awoodaha & Habka

      Competence  & Procedure

      Qod. 70 - 72

      Qaybta 10: Gefefka Asluubeed

      Disciplinary offences

      Qod. 73

      Qaybta 11: Ciqaabaha & Racfaanka

       Penalties & Appeals

      Qod. 74 - 78



      Bogga 27 – 31



      Qaybta 12: Abaalmarinta Hawlaha Boliiska

      Meritorious Police Service

      Qod. 79 - 81

      Qaybta 13: Xannanada Boliiska

       Police Welfare

      Qod. 82 - 83

      Qaybta 14: Qodobada Dhameystirka

      Final Provisions

      Qod. 84 - 88


     2011: Somaliland is currently engaged in re-organising and modernising the Somaliland Police Force.  The UNDP has provided considerable help to the Force. A number of consultation meetings has taken place last year about the re-organisation, structure (including ranking) of the Force and the adoption of new modern laws that emphasise the role of a modern police service in a democracy - See: Somaliland progress towards police reform (April 2010). A national Somaliland Police charter was adopted after a national convention on police reform held in April 2010. welcomes this long overdue reform and makes the following comments on the police reform agenda: Copy of the 2011 recommendations which previously here.



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