Deputy Inspector General of Police in the Sierra Leone Police has said in Freetown that the State Security Force will henceforth sway from the procurement of lethal weapons as their use against civilians has and is causing serious human rights issues for both Government and the institution.
The Police Second-in-Command, Richard Moigbeh told the meeting on 10th November 2016, that the Sierra Leone Police needs substantial sums from revenue that would be saved by government out of retained subsidy funds to augment the force’s logistical needs ahead of the general elections and to police the country’s borders against smuggling.
“There is too much blame on the police when life is lost in the course of their constitutional responsibility to maintain law and order and this is impacting negatively on the images of Government and the Sierra Leone Police,” DIG Moigbeh confessed to a high-level stakeholders meeting on the removal of government subsidy called by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
The meeting held in the conference hall of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development brought together Ministers from the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Transport and Aviation, Labour and Social Security, Internal Affairs and other stakeholder representatives also including, the Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Leone Traders Union, Sierra Leone Labour Congress, Sierra Leone Teachers Union, the Sierra Leone People’s Party, the Alliance Democratic Party, the PPRC, National Union of Sierra Leone Students, RSLAF, SLP, ONS and Petrol Dealers, etc.
The meeting discussed a wide range of socio-economic ramifications of a possible increment in the pump price of fuel and suggestions were proffered as to how to mitigate the situation and the role each stakeholder is expected to play. According to DIG Moigbeh, the police will contribute to this process through commitment to enforce its lawful aspect.
The Sierra Leone Police it could be recalled was recently bashed by the country’s Human Rights Commission for their heavy-handedness in containing civilian protest in Kabala and other places around the country and recommended that the United Nations suspend their participation in peacekeeping activities until the outcomes of the investigations.
In recent times, all of the unarmed civilian protests the police have attempted to quell down have ended in some civilians being shot dead apparently by armed police officers. This has caused the people to wonder what form of public order the police is maintenaning when as a matter of fact, observers have blamed the flaring up violence during those peaceful protests.
A student activist in Kabala, Alphajor Daramy described the Sierra Leone Police as “a Political Police Force” rather than “a Democratic Police Force” that surely protects its citizens.