The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the Swedish Government have signed a US$3.2 million cooperation agreement to build the capacity of officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP) to fight crime and improve service delivery.
The signing ceremony took place on Friday at the Zone Six Police Station in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.
During the signing ceremony on Friday at the Zone Six Police Detail in Brewerville, outside Monrovia, Ambassador Lena Nordström said the project will also attend to basic crime investigation, crime scene investigation with a specific focus on crimes related to sexual and gender-based violence, and increase collaboration between the LNP and the Prosecution Service.
She said the initiative is in support of the Swedish Government Development Cooperation Strategy with Liberia for the next four years (2016-2020) with approximately US$158 million.
This strategy, she said, has three result areas including human security, pro-poor growth and democracy, gender equality and greater respect for human development.
Amb. Nordström said Sweden has a feminist foreign policy that seeks to ensure gender equality and equal participation of men and women, adding, “It is a peace and security measure when women are given equal opportunity to be active voices in the security sector and also in the community.”
She meanwhile called on the LNP to ensure that the security of all within the borders of Liberia is protected at all times since they have a strong leadership to take over the country’s security from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
“For the LNP to be successful in honoring its national duties,” Nordström said, “they have to allow the citizens to trust them.”
She said when institutions are open and transparent, people trust them, stating that state institutions can only be strong if the people trust their ability to deliver services that can impact their lives.
According to the female diplomat, the police cooperation project will address the issue of trust by building the LNP’s capacity in service delivery to Liberians and their foreign counterparts.
For his part, Police Director Gregory Coleman said the agreement marks a very important milestone in pledging LNP’s commitment to raise the officers’ professional level to meet international standards, especially in the areas of crime scene investigation as well as sexual and gender-based violence, among others.
Coleman said the bilateral development cooperation is aimed to generally enhance the professional skills of the LNP Crime Service Department in the areas of basics crime investigation as well as cooperation between the police and the prosecuting arm of the government.
“The project is in no way an attempt to convey an impression of a lack of competency of personnel of the Crime Services Department, who have over the years performed and continue to perform a fantastic job in obtaining evidence from crime scenes leading to successful prosecution and conviction of perpetrators. As a result of the dynamism in all spheres of scientific investigations, there is room for continuous improvement, which the LNP is of no exception,” Coleman said.
He expressed gratitude to the Swedish Government for the assistance to the LNP.
He then assured Ambassador Nordström of LNP’s willingness to fully execute its obligation as stipulated in the Letter of Intent and also the bilateral agreement signed between police authorities representing both countries.