As the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) gradually draws down across the country, authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP), in collaboration with the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and the Mano River Youth Network (MARYONET) among others are expected to introduce a new community policing program (CPP) to curb crimes.
The new program will develop a training curriculum that will introduce Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Local Technical Working Group (LTWG) members throughout Liberia. It will also develop a legal framework for human rights, develop information, communication and behavior change communication framework.
The new community policing program was adopted at the National Stakeholders and Partnership Revision and Validation Seminar on National Action Plan for CPP, held over the weekend at the Carter Center in Sinkor, Monrovia.
The validation exercise was witnessed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, and a Community Police International Expert from Switzerland, among others.
The Deputy Director for Administration William Mulbah, said the action plan will buttress efforts to maintain peace and order, because partners believe the country can’t operate in a vacuum. He says the strategy remains critical to authorities of the LNP especially with the drawdown of UNMIL and handdover of security to maintain public safety and curb crimes.
“Crimes have been committed in the community and having 10,000 officers will not be the solution, but relying on the community remains the best solution. LNP intends to engage community members fully in the upcoming elections, especially the youth,” Mulbah disclosed.
UNMIL formally hands over security responsibility to Liberian authorities effectively June 30, 2016. He promised to work with other organizations, especially the Community Watch Forum, which has been in existence for over 10 years and supports the LNP’s efforts in fighting crime and maintaining public safety across Liberia.
Also speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Liberia Peace Office, Reverend William Tolbert, III, Liberia Peace Ambassador, applauded authorities of the police as well as local and international partners for the initiative and hoped the plan will enhance LNP’s outreach to and within communities.
“We want to applaud the community residents, religious and traditional leaders, women and youth for collaborating to ensure the completion of this exercise and their willingness to cooperate in its implementation following the official launch on June 17, 2016,” Rev. Tolbert, III said.
He pledged the MIA’s commitment to work with the LNP and the Ministry of Justice, local and international partners to sustain positive transformation in Liberia. “It is time for all branches of government to maintain initiatives that strengthen the foundation upon which we built the state. Opportunity such as the validation of the LNP National Action Plan ultimately sustains hope and improves quality of life for all Liberians,” he added.
By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne