Policing the police: UNDP helps to improve internal investigation squad


April 7, 2015 

Police Constable Sorie Kamara is just an ordinary cop, but with extraordinary responsibilities. His job includes investigating other cops who break the law, or act unprofessionally, which means he walks a delicate line between friend and foe.

“I find it hard to manage my in-office and out-of-the office relation with my colleagues,” Kamara said. “One moment, I am this helpful colleague, part of a great team and we are all laughing together; the next moment, I am investigating them for something they did.”

Sierra Leone Police’s Complaint Discipline and Internal Investigations Department (CDIID) is transforming itself with help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Early last month, Kamara and 275 of his colleagues all over Sierra Leone benefitted from a three-day training series supported by UNDP. The training touched on sensitive topics like standard protocols, professionalism, oversight mechanisms, investigation, reporting, human rights, and ethics. The training subjects come from a needs assessment conducted with the help of UNDP in early 2014.

“I feel empowered now; I can now do my job with so much ease. I hope to replicate what I have learnt to my colleagues,” Constable Kamara said.

In January 2014, UNDP Sierra Leone launched its Security Sector Reform Programme to take over from the UN Peace Building Office under UNIPSIL to support the government and improve security institutions. With the Ebola crisis and the vital role the SLP must play to ensure peace and stability, the need for maintaining a strong and professional police force is crucial.

Simon Ridley, UNDP-Sierra Leone’s Access to Justice & Security Sector Reform Programme Manager said while UNDP brings its technical expertise, funds and time, it is the SLP itself that is driving the transformation.

“We appreciate the Corporate Affairs Department of the Sierra Leone Police for opening its arms to us. This CDIID training is amongst the first of several engagements in the coming months, which would also include joint trainings with the Independent Police Complaint Board and the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. The SLP needs are vast, the UNDP Sierra Leone budget is not that vast, but we have to make a difference. It is a proud moment to be part of this till the end,” he said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbeh, said the United Nations family in Sierra Leone is an integral part in the SLP’s principle of continuous learning and improvement, which should be translated into the quality of services delivered.

“We empower ourselves so that we can correct ourselves when we go wrong in doing the right thing; we welcome every opportunity to improve on our output and be the officers we are meant to be,” Mr. Moigbeh said.

Further to the professionalism training, UNDP is assisting the SLP with its asset management system and its public campaign: ‘A Force for Good’.

During the Ebola crisis, UNDP has also assisted the SLP in aligning the security sector with the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone as nation-wide quarantines and checkpoints are set up to prevent the spread of the virus.