The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Police to Arm 291 Officers

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police has spoken of the urgent need to deploy armed police officers at various Zones and Detachments around the country in a bid to curb the growing wave of mob violence in Liberia.

Col. Chris Massaquoi said the police intention is predicated on a number of destructions of public and private properties as a result of mob violence which he said needed to be prevented. The LNP Chief made the statement Tuesday, when he received 291 police recruits of Class 42 back from field training.

A police release quotes Director Massaquoi as saying that the planned deployment of armed police officers will help to minimize mob violence and bring perpetrators to justice as well as address the issue of police response time.

Speaking further, Director Massaquoi admonished the recruits to live above reproach in the execution of their duties, stressing that no form of misconduct on their part will be tolerated by the police administration.

"We will not hesitate to suspend, dismiss and forward to court for prosecution any police officer that will violate the Standard Operational Procedures governing the Liberia National Police", IGP Massaquoi warned.

He further warned the recruits to desist from acts that have the propensity of reminding the Liberian populace of the former days, when the police force was used as an instrument of terror to satisfy politicians. Lamenting on logistical constraints faced by the police, Director Massaquoi called on the Government to continue supporting the LNP in the wake of the UNMIL Transition.

He said for the LNP to be fully capacitated in the wake of the UN Mission drawdown, the Government of Liberia will have to address the capacity constraints facing the police, including housing, better incentives, and health benefits for officers.

At the same time the Controller at the Ministry of Justice, Walter Skinner, who deputized for Acting Justice Minister, Cllr. Wheatonia Y. Dixon Barnes, said the Ministry will continue to seek more assistance to enable the LNP meets the security demands of the public. Mr. Skinner called on the recruits to serve the country with diligence and faithfulness as they prepare to contribute their quota after years of wars.

Class 42 has completed eight months of field training, and is expected to graduate shortly from the National Police Training Academy in Paynesville District, outside Monrovia.

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