May 16, 2018
As the dust settles on the 2018 Presidential elections, the SLP and ISAT look back on a job well done.
The 2018 elections proved a real success for the Sierra Leone Police’s (SLP’s) recent training focus on public order policing. The SLP’s approach to crowd management and demonstrations during the elections was professional and courageous, with minimum use of force and a constant focus on the public’s rights to free speech and assembly. These excellent results reflect a great deal of hard work and planning from the security sector. The British Government’s International Security Advisory Team (ISAT) said they were proud to have worked so closely alongside them in their support to Sierra Leone in delivering peaceful elections.
Eighteen months before the election, the Sierra Leone security sector made public order coordination a central priority. A series of top-level planning meetings supported by ISAT saw the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) met with the National Security Coordinator (NSCOORD) to commence a sequence of complementary training plans followed by coordination exercises at all levels. The UK’s embedded ISAT advisors were engaged throughout this process and the UK provided targeted funding and training in response to security sector requests. Hundreds of security personnel across the country were trained in public order and provided with new protective equipment by the UK government.
The final months saw series of interlinked National Election Security exercises, supported by ISAT advisors and UK observers. Local and regional command centres across Sierra Leone responded to exercise challenges in real time, whilst in Freetown senior officials observed their progress and managed the overall national response. The exercises thoroughly tested the security sector, demonstrating strong overall readiness whilst also flagging remaining areas for improvement during the last weeks of preparation.
These combined efforts of the security sector, supported by ISAT over many months, were rewarded with an election which showcased the security sector’s competence, commitment, and pride in serving Sierra Leone.