20 February 2018

Liberia: 'I Will Reactivate Police Patrol Division'

Photo: The New Dawn
Police patrol (file photo).

Robert W. Budy, Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations-designate, yesterday said the patrol section of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has been dormant and so if confirmed he would reactivate it to meet its prewar status.

Budy spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Rule of Law, Claims, and Order.

Budy, who served as Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) prior to his appointment by President George Weah, observed that in the past the patrol division of the LNP provided 24-hour coverage for citizens, foreigners, and their properties, but unfortunately, he said, the department has been dormant for years.

"This patrol division is the most viable section of the police, providing around the clock service to the public," he said, adding that the patrol division acts as the first responder to calls to provide immediate and timely police intervention.

But, with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) style of patrol introduced to the LNP that includes the Police Support Unit (PSU), the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and other security agencies, Budy said, though it was good, it has not been effective in preventing crimes.

Additionally, Budy explained that officers assigned to that division conducted preliminary investigations into crimes and apprehended suspected criminals.

"Officers also conduct directed patrols to discourage and prevent the opportunity for crimes to occur and enhance the public's awareness of criminal activities in their communities," he maintained.

"I will make this department visible and accessible to the public at all times while working together to reduce crimes in every part of the country if confirmed," Budy said. "But, it can only happen, if you also increase the budget of the LNP."

When asked how he would deal with the growing number of tricycles (Keh-keh) plying major streets throughout the country, Budy told the committee that the issue is very important, 'because they are making significant contributions to the economic and social development of the people.'

"Their issue needs serious consideration and if I am confirmed, I will work with the leadership to ensure a cordial working relationship. I will also look at some policies that have been put in place in that direction, so as to see whether we can reform it," he stated.

According to Budy, lawlessness has been on the increase in the country, and he would not relent to use the full weight of the law to prosecute anyone responsible for violent activities in the country.

For Prince B. Mulbah, Deputy Police Commissioner for Manpower Development-designate, he said if confirmed, his first priority is to ensure that appropriate personnel are trained to assist investigators of medical-legal cases.

Mulbah observed that there were no trained pathologists or trained forensic physicians/medical examiners in the country, which has led to the government spending thousands of United States dollars to hire pathologists from other countries to perform autopsies in the country.

"It is now time for the police to have trained pathologists that would help to prevent government from spending too much money on hiring one from another country; and if confirmed, with the support from you, Senators, I will make sure that we provide scholarships for desirous officers to be trained in that direction," Mulbah indicated.

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