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Contemporary Policing for Demanding Circumstances

April 24, 2015 By Media & Communications Unit, SLP

The Sierra Leone Police happens to be at the frontline of keeping the peace in Sierra Leone. Incidentally, the experience of this force is better accepted abroad where it is increasingly being seen as one of the more professional and disciplined Police forces on peacekeeping missions from Darfur to Somalia, deployed on assignments of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN). Personnel from the Sierra Leone Police have served in Haiti, South Sudan and the United Nations and have handled and excelled in some key roles and responsibilities. The extensive knowledge of strategic management in the force is tinged with international experience at the coal face of contemporary policing and to the extent that the “Force for Good” is now pleased that it is doing better.

Local community policing strategies have informed the growth and management dynamic of the Sierra Leone Police. Taking a cue from the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation report, the SLP has an extensive branch network of Local Unit Commands (LUCs) and these are in turn served by a Family Support Unit (FSU) to provide for a range of human rights issues such as child protection and gender-based violence but to name a few. These are increasingly becoming vital points of attrition between the Police and the communities they serve as these Units intercede at the first instance on sensitive issues such as indecent assault or sexual penetration of a minor, an act that is significantly rampant especially in traditional communities since the law on sexual consent was intensified and the culture of child marriage, child betrothal were specifically identified and outlawed under the Child Rights Act.

The investigation of criminal activities are almost usually dealt with by the Criminal Investigations Unit but there are other more emerging units established to deal with contemporary crimes such as internet based offences, technology offences such as sim box fraud, terrorism and trans-border crime. The Trans National Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) for example is enhanced by Sierra Leone Police’s membership of INTERPOL, the International Police Network with members across the world. The CID concentrates on major criminal offenses such as fraud, conversion, kidnapping, ritual murder, homicide and other serious crimes against the State and is currently expanding its expertise on the management of scene of crime, forensics and postmortem investigations with the recruitment of Dr. Owiz Koroma as a senior consultant with Police rank of Chief Superintendent of Police to enhance and strengthen his lines of instruction and control with ranking members of the force.

In terms of operational management, the Sierra Leone Police operates though a network of Regional Command known as REGPOLS. The Regional Commanders would have responsibility and management oversight over all Local Unit Command in their region. There are four Regional Command posts in the provinces based on provincial alignments viz REGPOLS NORTH EAST, NORTH WEST, SOUTH AND EAST and two Regional Commands in the Western Area viz REGPOL EAST and REGPOL WEST. Due to the economic importance of Kono and the propensity for violence in that area, the Sierra Leone Police is seriously considering setting up a special REGPOL for economic and strategic reasons in Kono.

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