Gambia: Police Admit Capacity Gap in Human Rights

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) has revealed that the Gambia Police Force (GPF) lack capacity in the areas of human rights which has hindered them in fulfilling their tasks properly.

Deputizing the IGP at the opening ceremony of a 3-day training of 30 police officers at a local hotel in Bijilo, Mr. Abdoulie Sanyang said human rights and the rule of law were not adequately embedded in the Police in the past despite the steps taken to create a human rights and complaints unit within the country's police force.

"This somehow has created a climate of mistrust and people often perceive their police force as a threat rather than a protector of their lives and property," he said.

He said they are working to improve and equip their human rights unit to be able to take up modern challenges of policing a democracy.

He said it is the responsibility of the Police to work closely with relevant stakeholders like the NHRC to re-establish security and rule of law, saying the development/reform of the security sector is extremely important for the consolidation of democracy, rule of law, peace and promotion of stability.

He remarked: "This training of over 30 police officers clearly seeks to do just that because a stable security environment is also a significant precondition for economic and social development."

Meanwhile, he said since its creation, the NHRC has rolled out some trainings to improve the knowledge gap of police officers on matters relating to the protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

"We as a security institution are aware of the daunting task ahead of us in our quest to maintain law and order and the need to respect the fundamental rights and liberties of people," he said.

He said the training came at a better time, noting that people's lives in the country were complicated by uncertainties, often damaged by excesses of the previous regime which led to a plethora of rights violations caused by the weakness of state institutions to maintain law and order.

"It is not in doubt that The Gambia went through a period of dictatorship wherein state institutions especially those in the security sector were paralyzed," he said.

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