The Liberia National Police or LNP, by law, has the responsibility of protecting life and property in Liberia. At the core of this mandate is law and order among the population. Over the years, the relationship between the police and public has not been too cordial, probably because of acts unbecoming of most of the men and women in the force. As a result of the lack of public trust in the police, the respect previously accorded our “first class citizens” continues to diminish day by day without any improvements.
Regrettably, the attitudes of the men and women on the streets of Monrovia and its environs, as well as major highways in the country and at various depots across the nation speak volumes of the ‘bad public perceptions’ about this noble national institution.
Despite the condemnations issued by the Government of Liberia, most reports produced by international right groups tend to give a critical picture of these negative occurrence perpetrated by men and women deployed by the LNP across the country-and these are facts from which corrections must be made to restore the image of the LNP order than the normal “fight back” situation following the release of these reports.
Daily on the various highways, irregular checkpoints are erected mainly for extortion purposes- most times, these negative behaviors are exhibited in the presence of passengers on board commercial vehicles who these police men and women don’t even know. Vehicles that must be inspected are allowed to go through the checkpoints without inspection, while commercial drivers and occupants look at.
For example, between the City of Kakata in Margibi County and Monrovia, there are about ten police checkpoints between the hours of 10pm to the morning hours, and victims of the checkpoints are commercial trucks and others that must pay between LD$50.00 to LD$800.00 or above depending on the contents of those vehicles. Even at various depots, complaints are handled by the police on the basis of the “highest bidder” , i.e., provided the complainants ensure transportation, stationery or registration under the guise of fast-tracking their case (s) -this is actually ludicrous and demeaning of the police’s image. At most police depots, there’s no electricity, but ‘Chinese lights or candles sometimes purchased by complainants.
While annual budgetary allotments to the LNP may not allow its administration to do enough for its men and women, whatever approved by the Liberian Legislature must be utilized to the benefit of the entire police force. It may be because the hierarchy of the LNP is not doing well that these unprofessional attitudes are being exhibited to the detriment of the image of Liberia outside and internally.
Unless the administration of the Liberia National Police can redirect the utilization of its annual budgetary allotments for better incentives, new police uniforms, logistics, etc., etc., the men and women will continue to exhibit bad and unprofessional behaviors, and groups will also continue to report the bad side of the police to negatively impact our nation’s image.