15 June 2017

Liberia: Police Cite Serious Constraints

Authorities at the Liberia National Police say the force faces very serious constraints when it comes to the smooth running of the organization, compelling them to minimize activities that they shouldcarry out just to be able to make their presence felt by the people, whether supported by budget or not.

"When it comes to the smooth running of the police, we're seriously constrained. Very, very seriously constrained till we have to minimize the activities that we should carry out to enable us respond adequately in other parts of the country", Col. Coleman told a NewDawn interview on Tuesday, 13 June.

The Police Chief further noted that by the UNMIL drawdown plan, the LNP force should be up 8,000 by now, but the force has not reached that target because they did not conduct any training during the Ebola crisis.

Regarding low police deployment in some rural areas, he argues that this is due in part to the lack of housing facilities for the men and women. He said the police have no barracks around the country, something which poses a serious impediment to police deployment.

In addition, Col. Coleman says the deployment of officers across the country requires a lot of funding which the police don't have right now. According to him, once officers are not settled in a barracks, it's like they are on assignment, and therefore they would have to get Daily Sustenance Allowance or DSA. That notwithstanding, he said plans are underway to erect police barracks across the country.

"I told you earlier, you can work around the logistics, but there are certain things you can't just bypass. Like for instance, there will always be problems. You have to deploy officers from one area to

another. There is a law on this Daily Sustenance Allowance. It should be paid. You cannot expect us to have police responding to situations almost on a daily basis and you do not even have that for them." Col. Coleman said.

He said due to the lack of such funding money that the police supposed to use to do operations, like special operations will be used to do everything else. He has further suggested that if one takes a look at the police budget for the gone year, zero dollar is on those lines.

The police chief says one of the most important things that the administration has stressed on regarding community policing is the family development component. He says those are things that they are working on that have increased the motivation of officers to get the level of performance that is seen out there.

"And guess what, the people aren't even thinking whether you got the budgetary support or not, all they want is they got to see you. So, you got to show up. So how you do it? So that's where the issue of competing priorities comes in", he says.

He went on to praise senior officers on the team of leadership at the LPN, saying everyone on the team has had the same experience especially, people who are positioned along the line to be able to carry out key functions.

"So in communicating with any of them down here is not difficult", he says, noting further that: "Humility brought me here, humility will keep me here".

Liberia

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