– Open Liberia Findings Reveal
A research on the Liberia National Police (LNP) has revealed that all of the functional operational logistics belonging to the LNP, including vehicles and motorbikes as well as administrative equipment and supplies, such as computers, internet, uniforms, batons, spray guns, among others, are all assigned at central headquarters, leaving stations and depots completely unable to effectively perform their duties.
According to the findings of by Open Liberia, depots in Montserrado County are unable to respond to more than one crime reported at the same time, which it said is troubling for the people of Liberia.
Samuka V. Konneh, executive director of Open Liberia, said, “As a result of this imbalance in the distribution of police resources, 73% of respondents to the study observed that they are unable to respond to multiple crimes reported at the same time because they do not have any vehicle, motorbike or tricycle to move.”
According to Konneh, seven depots, including Joe Bar, New Kru Town, Gobarchop, Bong Mines Bridge, VOA, Doe Community and Logan Town, said although they are capable of responding to multiple crimes at the same time; however, they do not have vehicles to facilitate such a response.
“In fact, not a single one of the depots surveyed, and even those that did not participate in the study, reported receiving vehicles, motorbikes, tricycles or base radios within the last three years –thereby leaving their performances at the mercy of citizens who have
complaints,” Mr. Konneh said. “If there is an incident at police stations similar to what happened at the Red Light station in 2015 involving motorcyclists, there is absolutely no chance of containing it by these depots; and the consequence may even be deadly during this election period. This is because the depots lack the necessary operational logistics to respond to a reported crime, let alone prevent or contain an attack.”
According to Konneh, the study also finds that police officers have not received uniform supplies for several years – largely depending on the person spoken to. But the timeframe ranges between two and ten years. Several officers said that they have not received any uniform from the administration since their graduation 10 years ago. Respondents say they have been purchasing their police uniforms from the local market.
Only Red Light Container Site and Bong Mine Bridge depots say they received uniform supplies about seven months ago.
Director Konneh said although all respondents agreed that they ought to respond to reported crimes within 30 minutes, it currently takes the police up to one hundred and eighty minutes or three hours – sometimes longer, to respond to a reported crime in their own neighborhoods; and if the crime is reported in a location that is a little farther, it takes them several hours to respond, which they significantly attribute to the lack of operational logistics.
“Our study also finds out that as simple as it may seem, police officers assigned at depots do not know when they ought to receive office supplies and operational logistics, which in effect leaves rooms for doubts and suspicion,” he said.
“We gathered evidence that officers at many times abandon duty posts at certain hours of the night due to cold, lack of electricity and lack of firearms to protect themselves against potential intruders – also leaving many vehicles not inspected. They also leave duty posts when it rains due to lack of rain gear. However, this has improved with the provision of rain gear to some officers last month.”