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Police urged to refrain from action leading to unnecessary deaths

January 20, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has urged the Sierra Leone police to refrain from action that would result to unnecessary death of innocent civilians.

The recommendation in the commission’s 2015 “State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone” which was made public on Wednesday January 18, 2017, came in the wake of widespread criticisms of the use of excessive force by police officers in responding to fracas.

There have also been instances wherein police used excessive force in handling problems, resulting in shooting and deaths of innocent people, as well as the alleged beaten of suspects in their custody.

The commission recalls police related deaths reported in its 2013 and 2014 State of Human Rights report and continued to express grave concern over such unfortunate deaths.

The commission was also concern about the violent murder of two young people; Hannah Bockarie and Sydney Buckle (DJ Clef, whose corpses were found abandoned around Murray Town and Aberdeen vicinities in May and August respectively.

The 2015 report noted that during the course of the year, one Francis Samuel Hafner died a day after his release from police custody with allegation that he was beaten by police officers during his arrest and detention.

While noting the efforts of the SLP in the timely investigation and prosecution of the aforementioned matters which were pending in court, the commission stated that the  hierarchy of the police  should institutionalised zero tolerance against unnecessary violence to or ill-using any person in custody in line with the Police (Discipline) Regulations of 2001.

“The SLP should increase their patrols in and around crime hotspots, especially the Murray Town and Aberdeen communities,” the report recommended.

The HRC-SL report also recommended that the government provides adequate funding to the SLP to enable them acquire equipment like Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to aid their investigation and monitoring, while at the same time embarking on robust public sensitisation programmes against violence and support psychosocial counseling nationwide.