Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) over the weekend concluded a day-long interactive forum with some community members, and law enforcement officers aimed at cementing relations in Grand Cape Mount County. The forum was hosted in Robertsport City, the county’s political capital.
RAL, a local-based non-governmental organization, has over the years been providing alternatives to enhancing human rights, rule of law, democracy and peace building and victim recovery.
The forum was part of the ‘Community Policing Initiative, A Prisoner’s Rights and Police Reform project by RAL in collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP).
The one-day forum focused on the role of the police in the protection of lives and properties, the role of magistrates in reducing the number of pretrial detainees, and the role of the communities as partners in fighting crimes and maintaining peace.
The forum brought together over 40 participants, including traditional women, students, magistrates, judges, county administration, police officers and community leaders.
As part of their agreement, the community members promised to report crimes, and also work with the police to settle minor offenses rather than taking such cases to the police stations, which will end up sending the suspects to prison causing congestion and long stay at those prison facilities.
The community members also agreed to report those involved in the sale of illicit substances in their respective communities.
RAL Program Coordinator, Sam Nimely, reminded the participants about the importance of security, particularly the relationships that ought to exist between police officers and community dwellers.
Nimely said it is now time that community and security officers cement relations in making their communities free from crimes to ensure the safety of citizens and properties.
“Don’t take laws into your own hands, but cooperate with the police as partners in fighting crimes to make the community a crime-free environment,” he said.
LNP Grand Cape Mount County Chief of Operations, Kelvin M. Korboi, who served as one of the facilitators, informed the participants of the important roles of the police in any given society, including Liberia.
Korboi said all criminal cases begin with the police and later end at the court.
“There are cases the community members should not tamper with, but rather leave such with professional police officers to handle some of the cases peacefully instead of going to court. This will help maintain peace in the communities,” Korboi said.
Meanwhile, police officers and county administration, including commercial motorcyclists have agreed to follow all measures that will help protect lives and properties and ensure public safety.
The participants also applauded RAL for the peaceful conduct of the forum, and promised to exercise what they learned in their respective communities by working with the police in fighting crimes.