As the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) gradually draws down across the country, authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP), in collaboration with the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and the Mano River Youth Network (MARYONET) among others are expected to introduce a new community-policing program (CPP) to curb crime.
The new program will develop a training curriculum that will introduce its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Local Technical Working Group (LTWG) members throughout Liberia.
It will also develop a legal framework of human rights, develop information, communication and behavior change communication framework for LTWG.
The occasion where the new community policing program was adopted was the National Stakeholders and Partnership Revision and Validation Seminar on National Action Plan for CPP, held over the weekend at the Carter Center in Sinkor.
The validation exercise was witnessed by representatives from the US Embassy, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, a Community Police International Expert from Switzerland, among others.
William Mulbah, Deputy Director of Police for Administration, said, “This action plan will buttress our efforts to maintain peace and order, because we believe that we can’t operate in a vacuum.”
The strategy remains more critical to authorities of the LNP especially with the drawdown of UNMIL which, according to Mr. Mulbah, will leave security in the hands of police to maintain public safety and curb crimes.
“Crimes have been committed in the community and having 10,000 officers will not be the solution, but relying on the community remains the best solution. LNP intends to engage the community members fully in the upcoming election, especially the youth,” Mulbah disclosed.
He promised to work with other organizations, especially the Community Watch Forum, which has been in existence for over ten years and support the LNP’s efforts in fighting crime and maintaining public safety across Liberia.
Also speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Liberia Peace Office, Reverend William Tolbert, III, Liberia Peace Ambassador, applauded authorities of LNP as well as local and international partners for the initiative and hoped that the plan will enhance LNP’s outreach to and within communities.
“We want to applaud the community residents, religious and traditional leaders, women and youth for collaborating to ensure the completion of this exercise and their willingness to cooperate in its implementation following the official launch on June 17, 2016,” Rev. Tolbert III said.
He pledged the MIA’s commitment to work with the LNP and the Ministry of Justice, local and international partners to sustain positive transformation in Liberia.
“It is time for all branches of government to maintain initiatives that strengthen the foundation upon which we built the state. Opportunity such as the validation of the LNP National Action Plan ultimately sustains hope and improves quality of life for all Liberians,” he added.
Obediah Thompson, Founder and Chairman of the Board of MARYONET that serves as Head of Secretariat on the LTWG, said the new initiative if completed will reduce mob violence and create the rule of law in the society.
“Through the LNP, we will be working with various local groups in the 15 counties to ensure that the idea of mob justice ends. We have some of the institutions already existing, but just need the new method of community policing. Kenya has been selected for the tour to assist us in getting the methodology of community policing, and we hope to see a total change after various dialogues and interactions with various communities,” Mr. Thompson said.