Posted by: africanpressorganization | 29 August 2008

Liberia / UN / Better days ahead for Liberia’s police, predicts top UN Envoy as she calls for strategic plan




Liberia / UN /
Better days ahead for Liberia’s police, predicts top UN Envoy as she calls for strategic plan


MONROVIA, Liberia, August 29, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN Envoy, Ellen Margrethe Løj has called on the Liberian National Police – LNP- to back their commitment to professionalism and excellence with a strategic development plan that clearly outlines the effective way forward. Ms. Løj was speaking at a stakeholder’s meeting organized by the Ministry of Justice to validate recommendations made last month by senior Liberian Police Officers, at a workshop in Accra-Ghana, where they made a critical assessment of challenges and future needs of the LNP.


“A well functioning institution cannot operate without finances,” said Ms. Løj, in reference to persisting challenges, such as the LNP’s inability to effectively deploy donated vehicles – including patrol cars – due to the lack of funding for fuel and maintenance.


The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, SRSG, cautioned that in the absence of a comprehensive and Liberian-owned strategy, support that is being given to LNP in bits and pieces becomes “both unsustainable and often counterproductive.”


“This strategic plan will be a valuable tool to be used by international partners in supporting Liberia and the LNP in those areas where funding gaps exist,” said SRSG Løj. She also pledged more support and “the highest level of advisory and technical support, through United Nations Police – UNPOL”.


Among the recommendations out of the workshop is the need to re-establish a change management committee to lead an on-going restructuring and reform of the Liberia National Police. The committee would tackle the structural and institutional changes needed to turn the LNP into a more professional police force that can regain the full trust and confidence of the public.


Mr. Phillip A.Z Banks III, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, accepted the recommendations, saying every effort will be made to support the LNP in drawing up the strategic development plan. He also disclosed that an opportunity for support to the LNP from the Government of Liberia’s supplementary budget will open up in December.


For her part, LNP Director/IGP, Ms. Beatrice M. Sieh-Brown urged her LNP colleagues to work together as a team to take the LNP forward. “Liberia’s new generation of police officers must buy-in and be part of this change, or else they will be frustrated and start resorting to unacceptable behavior,” she said.


“We need a force that has the capability to preserve and analyze evidence in complex cases and investigations,” noted Mr. William K. Mulbah, LNP’s Deputy Commandant at the National Police Training Academy. He highlighted among others, the need to establish appraisal systems and merit-based promotions as well as training curriculum that includes social sciences, human rights, information technologies and psychology.


Support to the LNP is a key priority for UNMIL, UN agencies, funds and programmes, and many international partners in Liberia, including the governments of Norway, Germany and the United States of America, Ireland, Belgium and Nigeria.


SOURCE : Mission of UN in Liberia



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