Law enforcement may only be a successful task on the basis of a collective team work with the civilian population.Wherein there are strain relations between law enforcement officers and civilians, crimes and violence over-shadow the peace and security of the society.
It may have, perhaps, been in the foregoing context that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf recently admonished the Liberia National Police to engage community people in enhancing community policing. At a just-ended graduation of police and drug enforcement personnel at the National Police Training Academy in the City of Paynesville, outside Monrovia the Liberian Leader indicated that police-community engagements improve relationship, regretting the already diminishing Police-community relationship.
True to the words of President Sirleaf, the diminishing and strain community-police relations with the communities may be characterized the by current increase crimes and violence. The inability of the Liberia National Police to foster and maintain such relations with community people may also be an attributing factor to the high crime rate and violence.
Issues such as alleged police harassment, intimidation, corruption, as well as criminal facilitation, among others, continue to be at the core of the souring police-community relations and lack of respect for the latter.
In restoring this relationship in the interest of public safety, the LNP must, at all levels, undergo professional reorientation, as well as manifest the highest degree of public interest in its operational duties and functions.
Such orientation must ensure deviation from the concept of wealth acquisition through ‘quick-fix’ means as currently exhibited in cases and criminal justice at the various police stations/depots across the country, as well as traffic control, among other interactions with the public. While the President of Liberia may mean well for the Liberia National Police and its operations across the country, the hierarchy of the LNP must also be responsive to the needs of the men and women in the field as per its national budgetary allotment should there be any improvement.
The police high command must also follow up the activities of the men and women in the field by relying not only mere information from the commanders at the various sub-stations/depots, but its physical presence and interactions with the various communities and actors of public safety.
Pursuing the rules of engagement with these actors, especially through the Community Policing Forum, would further help to restore the lost credibility and image of the Liberia National Police.