CIVILIAN PROTECTION- PRIMARY DUTY OF LIBERIAN POLICE SAYS DEPUTY DIRECTOR
New York-13 June 13, 2012, the Deputy Director of Police for Administration at the Liberian National Police, Rose Stryker has underscored the importance of civilian protection as key component of the police mandate which deserves a serious attention.
The Deputy Director made the remarks at a workshop held at the International Peace Institute in New York, on the theme: “Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping Operations, Capacity –building and Transitions.
She said the Government of Liberia was aware of the inherent danger in neglecting the civilian population, that this is why the Government has not relent in its effort to work with partners towards strengthening the capacity of police in relationship to protecting the public. She said the focus of the reform process in the Security Sector especially the police, is to ensure efficiency in service delivery and build confidence between the people and their Government.
To this end, Deputy Director said the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL) through UNPOL, in collaboration of the Liberian National Police has established several Specialized sections within the Liberia National Police aimed at expanding and enhancing the functions of the police so that they are better equipped to protect the public. She explained that Women and Children Protection Section(WACPS) and Gender Section form part of the specialized Unit that monitors , supervises and implement Liberia National Police gender policy.
In addition, she said Police Support Unit (PSU), Emergency Respond Unit (ERU) as well as the Professional Standard Division (PSP) are all geared towards improving the policing methods in post-war Liberia. She observed that the Liberia Nation Police was finding it very useful, a partnership in training which according to her has helped to forester understanding between the police and the general public. “Forces like the Indian Female Foreign Police Unit(FPU)help to strengthen the overall performance of the police in protecting civilians in particular, as well as to build and strengthen police/ community relationship”.
The Deputy Director pointed out that the Liberia National Police as part of a broader objectives to build capacity and increase confidence, has trained community dwellers and encouraged the establishment of community watch teams to help provide protection for their own communities and assist the police in identifying and apprehending suspected criminals in their communities. This effort, said the Deputy Director, has proven to be extremely successful.
Despite these achievements, the Deputy Director said the Liberia National Police still have some challenges to overcome especially in the areas of capacity building which will ensure that Liberians are equipped with the necessary skills to take charge of their own security.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN Security Sector Reform Unit Adedeji Ebo who served as one of the panelists emphasized the crucial role of a host country in Protecting Civilians in any transitional arrangement. He said vetting the security personnel alone is not sufficient unless the new political dispensation prove to its people that it is worth defending. According to him, this will require a strong commitment on the part a Government to abide by the principles of good governance, transparency and social justice. He concluded that the UN can only support the Security Sector Reform, but it is the ultimate responsibility of Governments to protect their own civilians.