Our attention has been drawn to the concern raised by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) regarding the limited presence of police beyond Monrovia and County Capitals.
UNMIL, which raised the concern in its just released report on the human rights situation in Liberia covering the period January-June 2009, however, acknowledged that the number of police officers deployed outside Monrovia has increased and several police stations rehabilitated.
In some outlying locations, UNMIL observed the total absence of law enforcement structures or their inadequacy is further compounded by the non-existence of functional judicial structures, posing a threat to peace and security.
For instance, in Grand Kru County, UNMIL said community police have been established in Blebo Town as a substitute for a police presence in the town. With no arresting powers, community police members are required to report cases to the LNP in Behwan, which is a three hour walk away.
However, the mission stated that this arrangement is not practical as logistical constraints often hinder members of the community policing forum from making timely reports to the LNP for them to carryout prompt arrests.
For us, we share the expressed concern by UNMIL, owing to the significance of security and rule of law in Liberia following years of the bloody civil war.
While we recognize the presence of many police officers in Monrovia and county capitals, sincerely, we think there is an urgent need for the police presence to also be felt in other parts of the country, especially areas where the people are defend-less and their rights said to be frequently abused by lawless individuals.
We understand that the LNP is still faced with major constraints, including serious limitations in logistics and infrastructure, as well as insufficient funding to cover operational and recurrent, but we further think authorities at the LNP must see the need to address this growing concern, which if not urgently attended, has the propensity to undermine the gains made in the security sector.
It is our ardent hope that authorities at the LNP will give the expressed concern due consideration in a bid to further enhance rule of law and security in the country thereby bringing relief to rest of the country.