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POLICE BOSS DEFENDS INSTITUTION AND HIGHLIGHTS CONSTRAINTS

The Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu has assured President Koroma that the Sierra Leone Police continue to deliver a high level of service despite the ramifications of a heightened security obligation upon the force including the threat of terrorism and invasion by radical groups, fundamentalists and religious fanatics as evidenced in other countries such as Nigeria. The Sierra Leone Police faces resource constraints in the deployment of personnel, equipment and the emerging requirements of continuing civil unrest, chaos and terrorism in a rapidly changing and technological environment that is now the sphere of operations for the force. These comments were embedded in the welcome address to His Excellency the President by the Inspector General when the Head of State made good a promised engagement meeting with senior cadres of the Sierra Leone Police force and the wider security sector at the Senior Officers’ Mess, Kingtom Barracks recently.

 

Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu extending his welcome address to       HE the President at the Senior Police Officers Mess, Kingtom Barracks

Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu extending his welcome address to HE the President at the Senior Police Officers Mess, Kingtom Barracks

In recognizing that it is strategic for key Institutions of State should be accorded such high level engagement with the Head of State, Inspector General Munu expounded on the importance of leadership and its impact that language and communications play in effecting adherence to a vision o leadership style. He commended the President for his demonstrating effective leadership through his ability to connect with the different spheres of Government while at the same time supporting Heads of Institutions to reciprocate by exhibiting their own leadership capabilities.  “President Koroma’s prouncements have been the guiding principle on how we work,” I G Munu asserted. The IG further stressed that if the police works more, and government generates more revenue through increased investments attracted to this country because of its stability and maintenance of law and order, then the country benefits. For this reason, Inspector General Munu pledged to His Excellency the President that under his leadership, he will undertake a strategy to ensure that the Sierra Leone Police is dedicated to working more and harder to meet its core deliverables of securing the sanctity of the state and to protect life and property.

 

In explaining how infrastructure and logistics remain pivotal requirements to enhance corporate development of the force, IG Munu informed the President that the role of the Sierra Leone; Police in international peacekeeping efforts necessitates logistical and infrastructural demands on the force beyond the normal operational requirements of modern ay policing. As international demand increases for the Sierra Leone Police Force so also do the force gain in experience and inward remittances from such duties abroad. Added to that, the experience of Sierra Leone Police as a post conflict force is critical in securing other fragile states to which they are assigned. For these reasons, the UN and the AU are now requiring the Sierra Leone Police to offer up “Formed Units,” which are groups of up to one hundred and eighty personnel from the same force to be deployed in any one operational theatre abroad.

 

IG Munu also reiterated that the operations of the Sierra Leone Police support the President’s vision as encapsulated in the Agenda for Prosperity. A stable and peaceful environment is conducive to inward investment, growth and economic development. These engines of prosperity are guaranteed by the effective management of internal policing and a deliberate attention to the protection of life and property under the law.

 

Despite the challenges facing the force, the Inspector General was confident that the record of work in progress point to a functional police providing opportunities for career development and enhanced welfare of personnel. He mentioned that the Sierra Leone Police has instituted a zero tolerance on corruption and as a result, that policy has led to the dismissal of many from the force. With increased police strength from 9000 to 12,000 personnel, the force has completed new police stations in Bonthe, Bombali and Kailahun. Two hospitals are under construction in Kenema and Kailahun and a tailoring factory is currently under construction in Freetown. The Sierra Leone Police now intends to undertake an installation and monitoring of citywide CCTV units for greater security and an enhanced ability to fight organized crime. Work has already started to effect automated electronic ticketing system for traffic offenders to enhance discipline and reduce corruption by controlled interaction with the public in the enforcement of traffic regulations, petty fines and charges.

 

As a result of the forward thinking of the Police Management Board, the Sierra Leone Police is now seen as an attractive employer and is on record as having the highest proportion of graduates enlisted since records began with the force attracting Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, and Accountants to its ranks. The net result being that the Sierra Leone Police is rapidly becoming an elite force with an international reputation and experience. Amongst its challenges however are increasing demand for police services and personnel, especially in volatile and high security installations such as Mining plants or large industrial units and to provide personal protection for high net worth individuals. There are also varying customer expectations to contend with and the implications for that is the gradual move to community policing so that the force can deliver a service level commensurate to the community expectations and the priorities of their stakeholder cohorts. Lawlessness and a controversial policing environment were also identified by the IG as potential challenges for the force.

 

In terms of the relationship with government, IG Munu was emphatic that the police must focus on the greater good of society in the exercise of their functions. In the event, the Sierra Leone Police is committed to doing what is best and in the interest of the State as well as what is permissible in law. He further stated that since the Police work for the State, in so doing the police is of force expected to work with government but need to maintain balance and independence. “The Police role is to create a conducive environment for healthy political institutions to develop,” IG Munu asserted. He pointed to the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Board which he hopes would, through impartial investigation and evaluation of wrongdoing against the force, help to reduce the de-motivating influence of wild allegations against the hard working men and women of the Sierra Leone Police, who stay awake at night so that others can sleep in peace. Notwithstanding, IG Munu praised the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma for raising police budget from Le 31billion in 2007 to nearly Le 67billion in 2014 but was quick to add that despite this increased subvention, the police need more resources to cope with the increasing service delivery demands and high end operational costs due to technological advances and the need to keep abreast with sophisticated criminal minds including cyber-criminals and terrorism. For these reasons, Inspector Munu confirmed that the force is now implementing an activities based budget to account for the fact that as policing is dynamic in nature, they have to be reactive to events as the police cannot anticipate what will happen even though they are expected to plan for all eventualities. He however thanked the UN Technical Assistance Team in New York for a US$3.1 million security sector reform project being undertaken with the Sierra Leone Police, ASJP and ISAT for the work they are presently doing to improve police management process. In closing, Inspector Munu expressed the hope that His Excellency the President will use his good offices to support the Police to meet the ever increasing resource demands and continually changing policing environment caused by the rapidly changing global economy, money movements through cyber space and the rapidly expanding technologies. He reminded the President that security and development are intrinsically linked and the role of the police in providing appropriate security enhances the chances for development to take place and improves the environment for inward investment and higher productivity.

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