The Inquirer (Monrovia)

16 December 2012

Liberia: Ellen Extols Police

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has bestowed praises on the Liberia National Police for what she described as their endless sacrifices rendered the country under difficult circumstances. The President said she was impressed by the work of the police force in the country especially those gallant men and women that are seen standing in harm-ways executing their functions.

The Liberian leader addressing the General Assembly of the Liberia National Police over the weekend said her government was not ignorant of the difficulties the police was faced with in the execution of its duty, but promised her government's commitment in addressing the logistical plight of the force as they protect lives and properties of the people of Liberia and others residing in the country.

She reminded the Liberia National Police not to relent in the execution of their duty as the country depends on them for the provision of security in the wake of the draw-down by the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

The Liberian leader called on the police leadership under the directorship of Chris Massaquoi to do all they can to ensure that maximum security is put into place as the country celebrates the X-MAS season.

In conclusion she presented a check of fifty thousand United States Dollars to the Liberia National Police as part of the celebration of the police General Assembly , stressing that the money be used for the men and women that are seen in the sun, day and night and not the top brass of the force.

"This little token is for you who are in the sun and rain providing security to your people to buy your cold water and soft drink", as the President handed over the fifty thousand US check to the authority of the police.

For her part Justice Minster Christina Tah lauded the force for a job well done since the beginning of the year, stating that much has been done to improve the image of the force. She praised the police for the manner they handled the November 7 "CDC Memorial Day".

"You made me proud as Justice Minister in the way you handled the day without any form of incident," the Justice Minister told her audience gathered to celebrate the General Assembly of the police force.

She also mentioned the imposition of the 10 p.m. restriction on the movement of motorcyclists in the country, the police support to correctional officers, and the supports coming from the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The Liberian Justice Minister said her ministry was aware of the constrains faced by the force, but called on them to look forward as the government was doing all it could to meet the needs of the force as they provide security for the state.

She said her ministry was in strong contact with other foreign institutions to address some of the challenges the force is facing, especially in addressing rape issues in the country.

She said the issues affecting the adjudication of rape cases will soon come to an end as plan was underway for the setting up of a laboratory that will test rape victims and perpetrators to establish the fact.

She said when this is done it will help cut down the difficulties experienced in the adjudication of rape cases in the country.

For his part Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi told the gathering that the Liberia National Police force has been able to reduce crimes in the country since the launching of "OPERATION SAFE HAVEN" and assured the President that the police will remain vigilant in the provision of law and order in the country.

The Liberian Police Boss asserted that despite the constrains and impediments to the working of the force, the police force was doing all it can in ensuring that law and order prevail in the country.

The Police IG informed the President that the police was forced to put restriction on the movement of the motorcycles at night due to their facilitation of the crime of armed robberies which he said has reduced drastically since the launching of the "Operation Safe Haven". Director Massaquoi also informed President Sirleaf that other measures are being put into place to keep the country safe and stated that the 10 p.m. restriction will remain enforced until the police is convinced.

The Liberian Police Inspector General said that his administration has been able to reduce the rate of police brutality due to the disciplinary measures put into place by the leadership of the force.

He said that the putting into place of a professional Standard Division to judge police offenses was paying off as officers who transgress are usually made to appear before the panel for investigation.

The IG lauded the men and women in the police for what he described as a job well done; stressing that this could not have been achieved without the support of other senior staff at the Liberia National Police.

The Police General Assembly is an annual event that brings together all officers of the force to reflect on the achievements and challenges facing the police.

The colorful event brought together the leadership of the Liberia National Police, Commanders of Zones and Depots, Heads of Sections and Departments and other members of the public including the media. During the program a library was dedicated and named in honor of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police

In a related development, the Liberia National Police is calling on motorcyclists operating in the country to desist from violence and other barbaric behavior, as any motorcyclist caught in mob violence or any act of hooliganism will be drastically dealt with, in keeping with law.

In a special Police Bulletin under the signature of Police Inspector Chris Massaquoi, he instructed all commanders of zones and depots to deal decisively with any mob violence by motorcyclists where ever it may occur. The IG in strong worded Police Bulletin stressed that there will be no compromise as the police was prepared to deal with motorcyclist that will want to undermine the peace of the country.

The police bulletin warns owners of all commercial motorcycles to ensure full adherence to the warning by their riders, as they, (owners) could be held jointly liable with their riders for violent action if it is established that these deviant riders may be acting under their instruction or knowledge , but fail to discourage them.

The police said that motorcyclists around the country were in the constant habit of engaging in violent actions whenever one of their members is involved in a road accident with other motorists, as well as other peaceful citizens.

This the IG said maintained that unwholesome act was unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated by the police, emphasizing that Liberia is a country of laws and no individual or group of individuals has the right to take the law into their own hands.

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