One of the primary mandates of the Liberia National Police or LNP is to enforce law and order as a way of ensuring public safety.
Whether or not its modus operandi since a few years now has been in confirmative with the foregoing mandate, the general public perception about the men and women of the national police seems not to be encouraging.
The negative public perception may be against the backdrop of the strain community-police relations, couple with numerous allegations of bribery, criminal facilitation, as well as acts incompatible with professional standards without any intervention by the LNP administration.
Allegations of police involvement in armed robbery, extortion and poor traffic control, poor mediation between/among conflict parties, rape, as well as un-necessary demands from complainants, among others, continue to appear on the front pages of Liberian newspapers and radio news headlines across the country.
It is no secret that police operations in Monrovia and its environs, as well as other parts of Liberia continue to be characterized by complaints of the aforementioned by community people, even though the LNP, through its spokesman, continue to resist such claims and allegations through denials.
Perhaps it is the foregoing backdrop that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf recently admonished the Liberia National Police to begin to restore relations with the various communities across the country in other to enhance public safety.
This is an admonition to which the hierarchy of the LNP must pay serious attention, considering the damming integrity and credibility problems with which the police is confronted.
Without fear or favor, the administration of the police must now place itself in the position of re-strategizing all of its disciplinary measures, as well as making them practical in consonance with its professional standards and ethics to restore public confidence.
Such measures must entail immediate investigation and actions against unprofessional conducts within the police with public knowledge of perpetrators.
While UNMIL’s draw-down and departure next year may now be an acceptable fact and that all eyes may be on the LNP and others for national security, the confidence of the people of Liberia in the security sector is also paramount; without the support and cooperation of the people (community-police relations), it may just be difficult for the LNP to succeed in executing its mandate of enforcing law and order to ensure public safety.
In view of the foregoing, the “rotten apples” within the police must be wielded out now for public confidence and safety.