Liberia’s Inspector General of Police Col. Gregory Coleman has renewed vow to pursue hardened criminals, particularly armed robbers, while re-affirming thepolice’s readiness to work with all stakeholders for a peaceful presidential and representative elections in October.
In reaction to the repeated terrorizing of homes by armed robbers, Col. Coleman said the police will observe all elements required in the use of force in retaliation to such incidents, clarifying declaration by his deputy for operations Col. Abraham Kromah that the LNP will “shoot- on- site” suspected criminals.
Flanked by his two immediate deputies Col. William K. Mulbah and Col. Abraham Kromah at the National Police Headquarters on New Year’s Eve 31 December 2016, the police chief said more armed officers will be deployed to patrol communities in order to deter a wave of criminality that has emerged here.
He cited the most recent armed robbery incident that killed a local forex bureau operator near his home in a Monrovia suburb of Sinkor, two armed robbery attacks in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island, and a bakery held hostage on U.N. Drive by two suspects armed with cutlasses.
Col. Coleman said police have a system in place to investigate and determine whether a police shooting against a suspect is justifiable, saying the public has got nothing to fear about the use of force by the police.
But he warned the public that while the police go after criminals, they will not equally tolerate mob violence against any suspect, stressing that they have the right to face justice so that their guilt or innocence can be proven.
The police said a total of 18 suspects have been arrested so far in relations to recent criminal acts, and investigators are conducting probe over their involvement. Surrounding the pending elections, Col. Coleman said the Lofa County by-election in February will serve as a test to demonstrate the LNP’s preparedness for the October presidential and representative elections.
He expressed hope that the public would share security information with the police, particularly concerning any strange movement of people while the police work on trying to reach out to all stakeholders before the elections are held.
In his year-end briefing, Col. Coleman announced that autopsy has been successfully completed for two kids found dead in a car along the Roberts International Airport last year, and that the report will be out very soon.
He concluded by appealing to the public to trust the police, saying there were professionals in the LNP and administration continues to send more officers abroad for further training, citing 15 officers that are expected to leave for Ghana.
His deputy for administration Col. William K. Mulbah said the police administration has tried by all means to reduce police misconduct, decentralized the Professional Standard Division or PSD which investigates police misconduct and the Human Resource Section.
Col. Mulbah said to strengthen security, the LNP will install CCTV at the Headquarters, and there will be networking among officers that will enable the police chief to remain in his office and communicate with officers in the field.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Col. Abraham Kromah warned the public against new criminal strategies being used by robbers to victimize people, citing the sharing of drugged tea and false alarms near homes to capture rescuers to harm them.
By Winston W. Parley -Editing by Jonathan Browne