The Director of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Col. Clarence C. Massaquoi, has stressed the need for more reforms, including building the capacity of the police and their accountability. These are critical to the LNP after the withdrawal of UNMIL from Liberia in June 2016.
Speaking during a three-day internal evaluation workshop organized for the men and women of the LNP, Commissioner Massaquoi disclosed that the event, which began yesterday, is intended to determine the LNP’s strengths and weaknesses. It is also intended to identify key priority areas for the LNP’s institutional and capacity building.
“The findings will also support the national plan for assuming full security response and responsibilities from UNMIL by the 30 of June 2016 as mandated by the United Nations Security Council resolution 2190 adopted in 2014.
The findings of the internal evaluation will be incorporated into LNP’s new strategic plan,” Commissioner Massaquoi added.
The police boss further stated that the findings will assist all LNP’s partners to determine which areas and by which means they can best support police and the Liberian Government in reforming the LNP.
“Before we leave here this weekend, we should have collaborated, coordinated, planned and put on our gear to be able to achieve (reform). We will start with the police, building their capacity and strength of accountability. We should improve the system through capacity building, both local and foreign.
“We must leave from here with a genuine welfare package which includes insurance, health and death benefits and a pension policy that will positively impact all staff of the LNP,” he maintained.
Director Massaquoi further emphasized that the LNP’s working conditions must be improved and the terms of reference and support of those officers who are deployed in the rural areas should be up to standard, ensuring them the amenities they need to perform their duties efficiently and effectively. “We must be able to improve our depots and zones, graduating from candle light as well,” he said.
“We must be able to craft new policies while implementing the existing ones, including the field management policy, assignment and deployment policies, policy on prosecution in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), and disciplinary mechanisms that would help guard the conduct of officers and the improvement of Standard Professional Division (SPD) as well.”
Director Massaquoi wants to decentralize the Police Support Unit (PSU) in the entire country in order to insure more proactive community policing approaches through police community partnership, enhanced to ensure that the people of Liberia are provided total security of lives and properties.
In remarks, UNPOL Commissioner Gregory Hinds said that UNPOL and UNMIL have been involved in building the capacity of the security sector of the country.
He disclosed that the United Nations Security Council, in its resolution 2190 gave the deadline of June 2016 for the complete handover of the security responsibility from UNMIL to the Government of Liberia. The resolution requested that the government develop a concrete plan to build the security sector.
He added that the UN would be delighted to hear the response from the LNP during or at the end of its three-day internal evaluation retreat.
He promised that UNPOL will provide the best support in building the capacity of LNP.
The official launcher of the LNP retreat, Justice Minister and Attorney General, Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh, said the LNP has done extremely well and remains the center of the security sector of the country.
He gave the LNP high marks for protecting lives and property, especially with the monitoring of the past two elections, and their role during the fight against Ebola and maintaining the peace that we enjoy in the country.
“The level of our people and how they think about the police has also improved over the year. You have shown a high level of professionalism and commitment in protecting the people of Liberia,” declared Minister Sannoh.
He expressed thanks and appreciation to all local and international partners for their support in building the capacity of the Liberian police and other security sectors of the country.
Several dignitaries and guests witnessed the opening of the retreat including UNDP country director, Kamil Kamuludden, French Ambassador, Joel Godeau, United States Ambassador Deborah Malac and staff of UNPOL and LNP.