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Bar Association unhappy with police handling of security

September 18, 2019

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

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President Robert Kowa speaks

The Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) has expressed grave concern with regards lapses in handling security issues by the Sierra Leone Police.

According to the President, Robert B. Kowa, they have had several incidences pointing to the lapses of the police on issues regarding the security of the state.

He was speaking yesterday in the conference room of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) in Freetown while updating journalists on the position of the bar on issues of national concern.

There have been several criticisms from the public and civil society organizations regarding the highhandedness and excessive use of force by police officers in responding to issues of security.

Kowa noted that the way and manner in which the police have responded to issues bordering on security has been unsatisfactory, adding that excessive force against unarmed civilians who may be demonstrating is not reasonable.

“We should not condone those who are creating chaos thereby making the country insecure. The way it has been handled is unsatisfactory to us as an association. We would be very happy in a situation where the police will act proportionately not disproportionately,” he said.

Lawyer Kowa said security and peace were constitutional issues and rights of every citizen of the country and that Section 5(B) of the 1991 Constitution talked about the security, peace and welfare of the people, which is the primary responsibility and purpose of government.

He spoke about the association’s intention to engage the police hierarchy and other security apparatus in the country to ensure the safety and peace of every Sierra Leonean.

He urged the police to make sure that regular trainings are conducted for junior personnel in the force, thus claiming that lack of continuous professional trainings may lead to disaster and problems.

The bar association president also spoke about the violent attacks on Judiciary personnel, particularly at the Pademba Road magistrate court, which was boggled into.

He added that their investigations revealed that there was no security on duty protecting properties in the building when it was attacked.

“Our public buildings must be protected and those who are in charge of giving justice to this nation must perform their responsibilities in a secured atmosphere,” he urged.