January 29, 2018
Executive Director of Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, has called on the Sierra Leone Police to recruit more persons with disabilities into the force.
Addressing members of the Executive Management Board (EMB) of the Sierra Leone Police at their headquarters on George Street on Wednesday, January 24, she thanked the Police for recruiting two deaf and dumb persons -one of whom is a sign language interpreter- into the Force on the recommendation of the Legal Aid Board.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles called on the leadership of the force to do more, noting that recruiting more deaf and dumb persons will improve access to justice for that group and ensure the right to equality before the law for all is respected.
“We would like to suggest that we have a sign language interpreter in every police station to assist members of the group who come into contact with the police either as suspects or witnesses,” she said.
“We will assist with identifying competent sign language interpreters for recruitment into the Police Force like we did for Fatu Kamara.”
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said the Board came by the sign language interpreter, Fatu Kamara last year who offered her services for free of charge when the Board was providing legal assistance to three deaf and dumb persons who were being investigated by the police for violating the ban on trading on Sundays and for public order offences.
“It was based on the quality of service she provided to us that we decided to recommend her to the EMB,” she said.
The new Inspector General of Police, Dr. Richard Moigbeh, assured that the Police will continue to support the work of the board in improving access to justice for all, including the disabled.
He said the Police was committed to recruiting more disabled persons into the force especially sign language interpreters, adding that the revised recruitment policy does not discriminate against disabled persons.
The Police Commander for the East, Assistant Inspector General, Memuna Conteh-Jalloh, welcomed the recruitment of Fatu Kamara into the force, stating that she interacted with Fatu Kamara when she was a child and had encouraged her to join the police because she was impressed with her as a sign language interpreter.
President of the Deaf and Dumb, Alhaji Lahai Vangahun, thanked the Police for recruiting two members of their group into the force, noting that it will improve access to justice for them and also the relationship with the police.
He said most times they fall foul of the law because there is no deaf and dumb person in the force to teach them about the law.