Liberia’s Acting Police Director, William K. Mulbah, has criticized past police recruitment policy executed by UNPOL, which saw high school dropouts and elementary students enrolled into the Liberia National Police.
Launching the LNP’s “International Women’s Day Programs” on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 dubbed “Women Rising beyond Ebola,” Mr. Mulbah regretted that the recruitment of sixth and ninth graders, including high school dropouts did more harm than good to the police force here.
In what could be seen as a ‘quick-impact recruitment’ initiative to meet a special target by the UN Police following Liberia’s bloody civil crisis, the UN, working along with the restructured security sector here recruited and trained police officers that were immediately deployed upon qualifying for those criteria set at the time.
Acting Director Mulbah however expressed regrets that past recruitment of low academic standard persons into the LNP did more harm than good, thereby sending a message out that qualified persons would now be recruited into the police.
While appreciating UNPOL for its enormous assistance to the LNP, He assured the public that with citizens and government’s support, the police force was up to the task to provide security upon completion of UNMIL’s drawdown in 2016; as he cited instances of police emerging victorious in exchange of fire with armed robbers to dismiss public fears of imminent security gap upon UNMIL’s full departure.
Mulbah spoke at the National Police Headquarters in Monrovia, while officially launching the LNP Women Day Program that is aimed at ensuring appropriate gender mainstreaming in the police with focus on women issues to include appointment of trained and competent females to senior and middle ranks and reactivating the police women association, among others.
The Deputy Police Chief for Administration however warned that the LNP is not just recruiting and promoting women; and emphasized instead that trained, competent and qualified females would get promoted to top ranks in the police.
Already, he said the police administration anticipates 30 percent women representation in the LNP; and announced that the police currently have 17 percent women representation.
In addition, he told the gathering yesterday that the police currently have female officers as commanders at zones, detachments, depots, sections and the regional levels, in commitment to authorities’ willingness to promote competent women in the force.
Earlier speaking, the LNP’s Chief of Gender Affairs, Assistant Commissioner for Police, Madam Sadatu L.M. Reeves, observed that unlike men, who she says, are quick in reconciling their differences with each other after conflict; female officers would prolong their differences to the point of falling apart.
The senior female police officer said women within the police are “somewhat some of the major causes of their problems,” as many of them sit complacently to blame their conditions on their male counterparts despite equally benefiting from capacity building programs.
While appreciating the efforts of all female officers during the ceremony, Madam Reeves said authorities of the LNP continue to encourage the recruitment of women in the force to augment response against violation of women rights, among others.
For his part, Acting UNPOL Commissioner, Mr. John Gachomo, said the UN and its entities have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security and full respect for human rights.
He however regretted that despite all efforts the UN continues to make in Liberia, there are unacceptably high incidents of rape cases with increasing numbers of victims being brutalized and an alarmingly high percentage of them being children.
Mr. Gachomo pleaded with Liberians to take on the scourge of rape, which continues to pose threat to the security of women and children throughout the country, as he fears that rape incidents are becoming more brutal and increasingly targeting children.
“…Last year almost 90 percent of victims were under 18 years of age,” said Mr. Gachomo, as he urged the LNP to recruit and retain more women as a strategy to improve police response to SGBV [sexual gender-based violence] and strengthen public trust and confidence in the police.
Following the launch yesterday, female officers were trooped in police vehicles to commence taking their “Women Rising beyond Ebola” campaign to the communities, beginning with marketers in Redlight, among others.
By Winston W. Parley