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Addressing LNP capacity-constraints a must

At the National Police Training Academy on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Police Director Chris Massaquoi reiterated emphasis on the urgent need for the deployment of armed police officers at the various zones and detachments across the country. This, according to him, is intended to deal with the growing wave of mob violence.

The Director of the Liberia National Police told his audience, when he received 291 police recruits of Class 42 back from internship at the Academy, that the LNP’s decision was against the backdrop of a number of destructions of public and private properties as a result of such mob violence. Director Massaquoi was quoted in a recent LNP statement as saying the armed police deployment would help minimize mob violence, address police response time, as well as ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“We will not hesitate to suspend, dismiss and forward to court for prosecution any police officer that will violate the Standard Operational Procedures governing the Liberia National Police”, warning Director Massaquoi, urging the police recruit to desist from acts incompatible with the Standard Operation Procedures or SOP, while, at the sometime, reminding the Liberian Administration for its continuous support in the wake of UNMIL’s Transition.

For the LNP to be fully capacitated, according to him, amid such drawdown, capacity-constraints such as housing, better incentives, and health benefits for officers must be address. The issue of capacity-constraints confronting the police is no more a hidden secret. From time to time, we continue to highlight such appalling situation facing this institution-a very professional one, without any redress, being very cognizant of the huge national security role characterizing its establishment.

While we do not wish to de-characterize Director Massaquoi’s warning to his recruits and officers against violating the SOP, it must also be clearly understood by us all that in the absence of addressing the issue of housing, better incentives, as well as health benefits, among others, there will always exist unethical problems within the Liberia National Police, especially among the men and women in the field and on the highways across the country.

It is no secret that even with the planned deployment of armed police at the various zones and depots throughout the country, there will still be unethical conducts, especially when the men and women in arms are operating without better salaries and incentives. As the Director of Police has indicated as a reminder in the wake of UNMIL’s drawdown, the Government of Liberia must urgently address the issue of capacity-constraints.

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