The Government of France has donated huge quantity of non-lethal weapons to the Government of Liberia through the Liberia National Police to be used by the Police Support Unit (PSU) in crowd control.
The French donation comes at the time the Liberia National Police is in need of logistical support in the wake of United Nations drawdown.
The donation, which includes tear gas grenades among others, was presented to the LNP by French Ambassador Joel Godeau on behalf of his Government over the weekend, when the Police Training Academy graduated ninth batch of officers from the PSU.
Officers of the PSU have been undergoing months of intensive training in crowd control/rioting under the auspice of the Government of France as part of its support to the capacity building drive of the LNP ahead of the potential drawdown of the UN Mission in Liberia.
Ambassador Godeau indicated that his government was proud to join the international community in building the capacity of Liberia, especially in the field of security which he said was paramount to the sustainability of democracy in Liberia.
He said the training of the PSU which started in 2008 by his government has so far trained eight hundred police officers in riot control.
The French envoy said there was no justifiable reason to prohibit demonstrations as long as they take place in accordance with the rule of law.
However, Amb. Godeau admonished the police to make sure that the means of popular expression pass off gently.
Receiving the items, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Hon. C. Clarence Massaquoi thanked the French Government for the support to the Government of Liberia, especially the LNP and promised that the tear gas grenades would be used in keeping with the rules of crowd control.
Col. Massaquoi used the occasion to appeal to the French Government through Ambassador Godeau for more logistics such as vehicle and non-lethal weapons in order to enhance the smooth operations of the LNP.
Director Massaquoi said the training of the eight hundred police officers in riot control is a clear indication that the officers are prepare to fill the gap when UNMIL should have departed from the county.
The LNP Chief said all will be done to professionalize the police to meet the security needs of the Liberians people which they can be proud of.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the police administration in maintaining law and order in the country, which he said, is the statutory mandate. Col. Massaquoi said his administration will not relent in dismissing any police officer who is caught in corruption or engaged in unethical behavior that will bring the LNP to public ridicule.
Meanwhile, he has disclosed that a contingent of PSU officers will be deployed in the fifteen political subdivision of the country to curtail any eventuality.