A four-day community policing training opens in Monrovia for Police officers, Community Leaders and Community Watch Forum members.
Over 120 watch forum members and 186 police officers are to be trained, to provide quality services to the public and to also strengthen community policing - partnership.
The United Nations Development Programme Joint Rule of law initiative in partnership with OCHCR, is providing support with funding from Sweden and Ireland.Community Policing is an effort geared towards bringing on board all relevant stakeholders towards ensuring and sustaining peace, stability and security in the communities and the Country at large.
At the opening session of the 4-day exercise, the National Chairman of the Community Watch Forum (CWF) stressed that community policing remains a hallmark in helping to fight crimes in the country.Isaac Kaffey emphasized the importance of the partnership and expressed appreciation to the Liberia National Police Leadership, UNDP and other development partners for the level of support.
Kaffey reminded his colleagues of their responsibilities and roles of ensuring that crimes are reported/referred to the police, instead of taking the laws into their hands.He also mentioned the mainstreaming of gender to reflect current realities and reminded the LNP leadership of the need to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will clearly define the role of the CWF.
Also making remarks, Rachel Fitzpatrick, Charge d' affaires at the Embassy of Ireland, highlighted the critical and crucial stake of Community Watch forum in maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the Country.Fitzpatrick noted that the participation of the community in reporting crimes, brings to bear on police officers, the issues of integrity and accountability.
At the same time, UNDP Resident Representative Pa LaminBeyai said the LNP Community partnership enhances, accountability, oversight and an effective strategy to fight social vices.Dr. Beyai said the strength of the police to fight crimes in the society is inadequate and thus needs the support of the community to advance this agenda.
"Without an effective and workable partnership between the police and members of the community, ridding the communities of crime and violence as well as ensuring safety and security becomes a tremendous challenge," Beyai noted.
The UNDP Boss lauded the Governments of Sweden and Ireland for being trusted partners of UNDP in the post-war reconstruction efforts in Liberia.
For his part, the Inspector General of the LNP Patrick Sudue mentioned that the idea of taking the police to the people builds trust and confidence.According to Sudue, the idea is to exchange information within a scope that will help solve crimes, and not to put members of communities in harm's way.
He announced that the LNP will shortly begin community policing and public safety awareness in schools around the country.
The LNP Inspector General is concerned about the wave of violence and the use of illegal substances by young people that have reached its peak in many parts of the country."We are appealing to Liberians and stakeholders alike to encourage young people against the use of drugs and test the rule of law, instead of engaging in mob violence," Sudue emphasized.