The Liberia National Police (LNP) have launched an anti – bribery campaign here dubbed “Don’t Bribe the Police”, in a bid to discourage its officers and members of the public against engaging in corrupt practices used in many cases to compromise the rule of laws.
“We’re asking that you all please be compliant with the laws of the land, finish. And that is all”, Police Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman said Friday, 24 June at Point Four on Bushrod Island where he officially launched the campaign supported by Swedish Embassy, the Carter Center and USAID.He says the campaign is just one aspect about accountability, noting that the police authorities are going the extra mile to improve accountability in the service.
In addition to a check body for police accountability, civil dispense, and complain board, he adds that police authorities are deploying on their own officers ranging from smart technologies to intel – driving operations. The police chief argues that bribery is a two way-street on grounds that someone gives and another takes, suggesting that while the police are committing themselves not to take bribes, the public too has no reason to offer bribes.
Col. Coleman encourages members of the public to abide by the rules of law, saying no officer would beat on someone for refusing to offer bribe, even if the officer demands such bribe.He assures the public that the LNP is building today’s image based on trust and accountability, and notes that the public expects from the police “service and protection”.
Concerning service, he encourages his officers to exhibit professionalism adding that when people encounter the police, they must go feeling refreshed or feeling better due to the quality of service they’ve got. Concerning protection, he emphasizes that it has to do with protecting people against harm and the use of force. Col. Coleman urges officers to check themselves to find out where they have gone wrong in the definition of their service and protection of the people and try to correct those errors.
Making remarks at the launch of the campaign, the head of the National Traditional and Elder Council Chief Zanzan Karwor says “all of us” must join and appeal to lawmakers to increase police officers’ pay, suggesting the need to put security first in a country. “Because they are suffering, some of them got three or four children. Country without strong security, it can’t work”, he says.
Speaking earlier, Carter Center Chief of Party Pewee Flomoku says his institution believes that preventing corruption is important “we should all be accountable” and allow the institutions to serve the public well.He says the campaign aims to deal with the perception that the police take bribes, while also discouraging those who offer bribes when they are in violation.
“So this campaign is for all of us, especially from the side of the citizens. Let’s see the police as that service institution that is there to serve us”, he urges. Also speaking, Mr. Thomas Doe Nah adds that the “Don’t Bribe the Police” campaign is very much important, but warns that access to information is crucial to sustaining the campaign.
“When we leave here, to what extent can citizens have the right to approach and report somebody who must have harassed them, or the police also reporting somebody who tried to bribe them?” he notes.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah