6 March 2018

Sierra Leone: Election - Police Deploy 13,000 Personnel

Photo: Premium Times
Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, leader of a mission observing the Sierra Leone polls sent by the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, visited polling stations in Freetown on March 7.

The Sierra Leone Police have expressed its readiness to provide adequate security during and after the general elections scheduled to hold on Wednesday.

The Head of Media and Public Relations Officer, Sierra Leone Police, Ibrahim Samura, a superintendent, who gave the assurance on Tuesday in Freetown, said more than 13,000 police personnel had been deployed for the exercise.

According to him, the aim is to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections.

"As I speak to you, we have started deploying our personnel to the various polling centres across the country. So the deployment is in progress.

"We have activated a toll free line, which is 112, which we receive something like 40 calls at a go and we will be in better position to respond to those 40 calls also at a go.

"We have also ensured that adequate training is provided for our personnel. They have been adequately capacitated.

"At the senior cadre, our personnel have undergone strategic command training, that is, gold command training to be specific.

"Strategic silver command training, strategic bronze command training and generally, they have undergone election specific security training.

"This means that we are now in a better position to provide adequate security for the people of this country before, during and after the elections," Mr. Samura said.

He said that the police expected the election to be peaceful as it had conducted threats analysis and threat estimate ahead of the elections.

According to him, the force have been able to identify some political hot spots caused majorly by high degree of political intolerance in the country.

Mr. Samura said that the agency had, however, put in place stringent measures to combat any eventuality.

These, according to him include the engagement of communities, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), as well sensitising the people against violence and acrimony.

"We believe in collaborating policing and we believe that providing security does not only rest on the shoulders of the police but together on all and sundry."

He said there had been cases of destruction of property, posters, portray belonging to various political parties or opponents, especially presidential candidates in certain parts of the country.

"We have also had isolated incidence of people being targeted because they manifested their supports for a particular political party or that they are clad in attires which bears the colour or cooperate identity of a political party or an opposition party.

"So, there have been some skirmishes, though isolated. But they are not good for the peaceful conduct of the elections. And these skirmishes are being addressed as I talk to you.

"We are fastening our seat beats and we are ready to work for the interest of this country."

Mr. Samura advised Sierra Leoneans to be peaceful and put the interest of the country above their own.

"As Sierra Leoneans, respect one another, love one another and embrace one another irrespective of their political difference. Let there be political tolerance.

"No political party is bigger than Sierra Leone, let them be able to put the interest of Sierra Leone above individual interest."

Mr. Samura assured that the Sierra Leone Police would not just provide water-tight security as it would also be professional in discharge of its duties.

"As security entity or as custodian of internal security, we will be neutral, we will be apolitical.

"We will not be partisan, we will not give any form of competitive advantage to any of the political parties in this country.

"To us, there is no political party that is bigger than the other, all the political parties are equal and there will be no preferential treatment."

He, however, warned that any individual or party supporter involved in electoral offence would be held responsible for such offence and not the party.


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