The Swedish Ambassador to Liberia Lena Nordström has called on the Liberia National Police to ensure security for all within the borders of Liberia. She said to be successful in executing its duties, the LNP has to allow people to trust the institution, emphasizing “When institutions are open and transparent, people trust them, and institutions can only be strong if the people trust their ability to deliver services that can impact their lives.”
Ambassador Nordström gave the challenged over the weekend when the Government of Liberia and the Government of Sweden signed a $3.2 million cooperation agreement to help build the capacity of the police to fight crimes and improve service delivery to the public. The signing ceremony took place on Friday at the Zone Six Police Station in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.
Speaking in Brewerville outside Monrovia, the Swedish Ambassador said the project will also focus on basic crime investigation, crime scene investigation with specific focus on crimes related to sexual and gender based violence, and increase collaboration between the LNP and Prosecution Service.
She said the initiative is in support of the Swedish Government Development Cooperation Strategy with Liberia for the next four years (2020) under a package of approximately US$158 million.
Amb. Nordström noted that the strategy has three result areas, including human security, pro-poor growth and democracy, gender equality, and greater respect for human development.
However, she noted that the LNP has indeed displayed a strong leadership in taking over security responsibilities from UNMIL.
She also said trust will be built when there are regular respectful dialogue meetings between communities and the police, and disclosed that Sweden has a Feminist foreign policy that seeks to ensure gender equality and equal participation of men and women. “It is a peace and security measure when women are given equal opportunity to be active voices in the security sector and in the community.”
Also speaking, the Inspector General of Police, Col. Gregory O. W. Coleman said, the agreement marks a very important milestone in pledging LNP’s commitment to raise the professional level of the police force to meet international standards, especially in the areas of Crime Scene Investigation as well as Sexual Gender Based Violence, among others.
Inspector Coleman said the bilateral development cooperation is aimed as generally enhancing the professional skills of the Crime Service Department in the areas of basics crime investigation, crime scene investigation, sexual and gender based violence and cooperation between the police and prosecution authority.
Coleman said the project is in no way an attempt to convey an impression of a lack of competency of personnel of the Crime Services Department of the LNP who have over the years performed and continue to perform a fantastic job in obtaining cogent evidence from crime scenes, leading to successful prosecution and conviction of perpetrators.
As a result of the dynamism in all spheres of scientific investigations, he said, there is always room for continuous improvement which the LNP is no exception.
“We highly appreciate the Swedish Government for this invaluable assistance through the Swedish Police Authority,” he said.
Inspector Coleman however, assured Ambassador Nordström that the LNP will fully execute its obligation as stipulated in the Letter of Intent, as well as the bilateral agreement signed between two police entities, representing their respective countries. Editing by Jonathan Browne