Liberia’s Police Director Col. Chris C. Massaquoi says the Liberia National Police or LNP will be “standing well” if it succeeds in getting a US$25m budget passed, after being narrowed down from US$44m initial draft.
“Well, initially we came up with a budget of $40, between $40 to $44m. But we understand the constraints and we have narrowed it down to about $25m. If we can get that figure, I think we’ll be standing well,” Col. Massaquoi told reporters Saturday, 6 August at the Liberia National Police Training Academy in Paynesville after receiving recommendations from a three day police self-assessment retreat.
Col. Massaquoi had earlier on Thursday, 4 August questioned the rationale behind bringing in foreign troops to help Liberian security forces after UNMIL draw down, suggesting that the police alone has well – trained units including the Emergency Response Unit and the Police Support Unit, besides the army and national security agencies that only required adequate budgetary and logistical support for a more robust operation.
In an effort to justify his recent increased advocacy for the capacity of the police force, he argued that if one comes from a certain stage with the intention to increase the level of capacity development of an institution, it would be worthy to increase the level of advocacy and position once it is realized that targeted stage has not been reached after five to six years.
The Police Chief had suggested that whichever organization was behind plans to send troops here should direct funding intended for such operation towards Liberia’s national security. He emphasized that the recommendations coming out of the retreat will be looked at, including areas that require funding to be able to implement and those that do not need funding.
He said where funding is not required, the LNP will work on it; but where the police have serious deficit gap which deals with finance, it will have to be worked on along with central government and the legislature to ensure that those capacities are developed.
He said building police capacity is for the help of everyone and for the protection of life and properties, noting that every community has its impact if the police capacity is not developed.
“[If] that capacity is not there, it affects the community as well. So we need to improve that capacity of the police to be able to be efficient and effective,” he said. The LNP says it is currently operating a budget of US$15m, out which US$14m goes towards salaries payment alone with just US$1m left as operational fund.
But Mr. Massaquoi called it a severe capacity deficit at the LNP, noting that about 20 families are crying every morning about armed robbery attack and police have limited capacity to respond timely to such situations.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne