17 January 2013

Liberia: Armed Police Replace Unmil

In the ongoing security transition process from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to local security authorities, Police Director Chris Massaquoi says armed police officers are being deployed into places where UNMIL have withdrawn from.

"Yes, we do have armed officers into those particular areas. That's the only way we will be able to protect our people."

"We are not going to put our officers in harm's way; so we are doing everything to have armed officers into those areas they require arms," said Director Massquoi.

Addressing a joint news conference with UNPOL Commissioner John Nielsen at the National Police Headquarters Wednesday, Director Massaquoi said in light of the security of the people, the Police have taken a lot of armed officers from those special assignments to be brought back to Headquarters in Monrovia for redeployment.

Besides, he said as a result of security concerns along the Liberian/Ivorian border, the police Emergency Response Unit (ERU) was successfully deployed in 2013 at the border along with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), thereby contributing to the security stability along the border.

Meanwhile, Director Massaquoi has stressed that the LNP needs to deploy officers with arms in various areas where arms are needed, while calling for logistical support, infrastructure, uniforms and vehicles, among others, for the police to be deployed where they should be.

Though the police chief reported that about 200 new depots have been established throughout the country, he failed to say exactly where those depots are located, but reveal that a lot of them were provided by the UNMIL Quick Impact program.

"We are not crying wolf as some may think. The police have genuine need of logistics, including communication, vehicles, uniforms, as well as infrastructure to be able to do the people's business of providing security," said Cpl. Massaquoi.

In a related development, the police chief reported a marginal reduction in the overall crime rate in Liberia from 14758 in 2011 to 14388 in 2012, representing roughly 2% in crimes reduction in 2012.

For his part, UNPOL Commissioner John Nielsen thanked Director Massaquoi for his leadership, saying each year the LNP steps up its security measures to ensure the public good quality of service.

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