In the wake of plans by the UN peacekeeping to finally, but gradually handover the country's security to state authorities, Police Director Chris Massaquoi has told participants at a three-day security transition workshop that additional barracks and police substations are needed to enhance effective police deployment across Liberia. Director Massaquoi said the deployment of officers should also be in line with better incentives.
He observed that because training remains a critical component to Liberia's security sector development, the National Police Training Academy has developed its infrastructure capacity but lacks funding to accelerate the training needs of the LNP for the security transition.
The Police Chief spoke Wednesday when he presented a paper on UNMIL Security transition in Liberia.
The workshop is being facilitated by the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum is organized by UNMIL.
Director Massaquoi noted that in order to train additional 3,000 police officers in basic recruit training between 2012 and 2015, the National Police Training Academy needs to train about I, 353 officers annually for admission into the LNP.
He said accountability and management is also considered as a critical venture in the workings of the police, something he added is being provided at the training academy to ensure effective managerial skills.
UNMIL's operations in Liberia ceases on September 30, 2012, if the Security Council does not extend the mandate of the Mission. This suggests that Liberia will now be responsible to handle its own security affairs, following years of brutal civil wars which ended only nine years ago.
Though progress have been made in restoring peace and stability, with two back-to-back democratic elections held for the first time in at least three decades, the devastating effects of the civil war still loom throughout the land, with security being a major concern.
UNMIL's current mandate, Security Council Resolution 2008 of 2011, among others, instructs the Mission to help organize the conduct of peaceful elections in 2011 until the new government takes over in 2012, as well as, strategize a plan of handing over security to the Liberian Government.
Additionally, the Government of Liberia and UNMIL are to continue to make progress in the transition planning process, particularly in addressing critical gaps that need to be filled in order to facilitate a successful transition; a technical assessment mission to Liberia after the inauguration of the elected Government in 2012 (which has taken place) to focus on the security transition, and also develop detailed proposals for the next stages of UNMIL's drawdown, based on a thorough review of progress made towards the transition benchmarks, with a view to providing timelines and recommendations for the further reduction of UNMIL's military component.
Despite sustained efforts by the Government and international partners including UNMIL to train a professional police and national army as well as other security apparatus, many Liberians are said to still lack confidence in the current national security.
The security workshop which ends today is facilitated by the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF), a program of the Social Science Research Council, follows on the similar workshop held in 2010 focusing on the planning for transition.
The ongoing session aims to assist in the next stage of the transition process enabling the United Nations and the Government of Liberia to plan the gradual handover of security and other related responsibilities currently performed by UNMIL.
Taking part in the workshop are key representatives in various levels of government, security and rule of law institutions, members of the legislature, and civil society, together with a small number of independent experts and UN members.
As part of its mandate, UNMIL's strategic goal is to assist Liberia to consolidate peace and achieve a steady state of security with national institutions able to maintain security independently of a peacekeeping mission.
UNMIL was established in August 2003 with the mandate to provide support for the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, protection of UN staff, facilities and civilians, humanitarian and human rights assistance, support for implementation of the peace process, and support for security sector reform.