26 November 2012

Liberia: Police to Boot Out Corrupt Officers

Photo: Tami Hultman/allAfrica.com
Properly managed, Liberia's extensive natural resources can produce jobs, like the 500 created when ArcelorMittal reopened iron ore mines last year with a $1.5 billion investment.

Liberia's Police Director Chris Massaquoi has warned a batch of new graduates from the National Police Training Academy that any police officer found harassing or extorting from the public, will immediately be booted out of the service.

Speaking at the National Police Training Academy (NPTA) in Paynesville over the weekend, Director Massaquoi warned that the LNP has deployed monitoring teams across Monrovia and its environs with eyes on traffic officers and regular police officers to ensure they adhere to discipline and good conduct.

"Let me warn you; you have not become a police man or woman to go against the citizens, and residents, but rather to render service to the public in a respectful manner at all times," said Massaquoi.

He told the class of 99 officers that "you are today entering a unique organization where commitment, education, professionalism, and passion for the job are expected of you."

Earlier Deputy Police Director and NPTA Commandant Samuel F. Dakana reported that during the [first] six months of training in theory, five recruits were dismissed for various reasons, ranging from drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, cheating in test to misconduct and theft, out an official listing of 117 candidates submitted to the academy on Sunday, October 30, 2011.

At least one recruit was reported to have died as a result of illness. Commandant Dakana revealed that as it relates to geographical representation recruits were three from Montserrado; nine from Grand Bassa; two from Grand Kru; five from Cape Mount; two from Grand Gedeh; 35 from Lofa and eight from Sinoe counties, respectively.

He also revealed that 6 recruits from River Cess, 9 from Nimba, 7 from Bong, 1 from Bomi, 2 from Gbapolu, 5 from Maryland, 3 from River Gee and 2 from Margibi counties, respectively.

Notwithstanding, Police Chief Chris Massaquoi has re-emphasized calls for central government to be more robust in terms of support to the LNP, especially with "the Ministry of Finance leading some exceptions to providing reasonable timeline to get money out of the ministry for the support of security in Liberia."

"As we all know, UNMIL will be leaving Liberia some day and the LNP will have to assume full statutory responsibility of the security of the state. In order to do that effectively, adequate manpower to take over all areas ... is paramount and requires training of more police officers," said Massaquoi.

In the midst of hitches with respect to budgetary allotments cited by Massaqoi, he however assured that the police will continue to fight crimes within the reach of its limited resources.

"We will not relent, but equally so, we want the central government to be more robust in terms of the support to the LNP..." Massaquoi said.

He said the reactivated police highway patrol team been functioning and generating much interest especially with the availability of vehicles donated by partners for such purpose.

"And those vehicles have assisted to a very large extent to the reduction of crime rate in Monrovia and its environs," said Massaquoi.

Meanwhile, Director Massaquoi has strongly urged citizens to warn their relatives against riding on motorbikes in the streets of Monrovia from 10 Pm to 6Am in line with police measures to reduce incidents of armed robbery and other major crimes.

Said the police chief: "If you are found riding in the streets of Monrovia from 10Pm to 6Am, your motorcycle will be confiscated and riders apprehended and jailed.

He added that the measure was put in place to protect lives and properties, saying there are statistics to prove that "motorcycles are involved to a very large extent with armed robbery."

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