July, 3, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
With support from Access to Security and Justice Program (ASJP), the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law Sierra Leone (CARL-SL) yesterday launched a report on accountability, bail and public perception of the Sierra Leone Police.
Doing a presentation on the report, CARL Project Coordinator, Moses Massa, stated that the report entails thematic issues that affect the country, noting that they were guided by international standard in undertaking their research.
He said the report was not done to criticize the Sierra Leone Police but to point out their shortcomings, thus thanking ASJP for the support provided through the Department for International Development (DFID).
Massa highlighted some of the recommendations they made in the report, which include capacity assessment of every serving member of the Sierra Leone Police that may be assigned to work in the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB), determining their suitability in terms of knowledge level relating to rule of law, right-based approaches and the role of a police officer and the police force in a democracy.
He said the IPCB should establish mechanisms to forging partnerships with civil society organizations working on law and order and wider rule of law and justice issues for information sharing and seeking informed specialist advice, among others.
“The IPCB should extend partnership with membership outfits for occupations that most frequently come into conflict with the police such as Motor Drivers Union, Bike Riders Union, Petty Traders Association, labour and students unions,” he urged. “The report noted how the SLP manages bail, which according to the research is not free, impartial and lack transparency, among others. The police should work closely with the judiciary on such contentious issues.”
The CARL project coordinator said the IPCB should consider institutional linkages and coordination with the law officers and the judiciary so that issues concerning poor bail management often leading to accusation of police misconduct can be traced and information shared on a regular basis for corrective action.
Also making a statement, Head of the Complaints, Discipline and Internal Investigation Department (CDIID) of the Police, Chief Superintendent Reuben Shyllon, conceded that there are bad eggs in the police and that it was no secret that some police personnel are over exercising their powers in contravention of the Constitution of Sierra Leone.
However, he said their records also show that members of the public sometimes make malicious complaints against police officers, thus wasting the time and resources of the police.
Deputy Head of ASJP, Amie Kandeh, said they have been supporting the CDIID and working with the parliamentary committee on serious issues, and that the report will help the marginalized and vulnerable people in understanding issues having to do with the police.