April 21, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) has been urged to train more Traffic Wardens in a bid to ensure that traffic personnel of the Sierra Leone Police Force are taken off the streets.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Salifu Conteh, who made the plea at the Holy Trinity Hall in Makeni last weekend, said it is the wish of the Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, not to have police officers on the streets. However, he acknowledged that can only happen when the SLRSA trains more wardens to manage traffic operations across the country.
He noted that Traffic Wardens have the powers of arrest but not to detain, whilst the police have powers to arrest, detain and prosecute matters in court.
“The laws must be reviewed so as to enable Traffic Wardens to investigate road crashes and embark on other road traffic safety measures,” said ASP Conteh.
But Deputy Executive Director of SLRSA, Alice Pratt, revealed there was mistrust between the two entities, citing incidences where Traffic Wardens have been molested by police officers while executing their duties.
She noted that the Police and Warden Corps should work together for the development of the nation. “We should work together to ensure better road safety measures are taken in order to save the lives of drivers, pedestrians, vehicles and motor bikes,” said Ms. Pratt.
Deputy Regional Police Commander-North-East, Chief Superintendent Francis Bundoh, said the roles and responsibilities of traffic police officers were not outlined to Traffic Wardens during their training, and called for the establishment of a disciplinary wing for wardens as they have in the police force.
Presidents of both the Motor Drivers Union and the Sierra Leone Bike Riders Union called for better collaboration between the two institutions so that road safety measures can be enforced thoroughly.
There are about 175 Traffic Wardens currently serving as an auxiliary to traffic personnel in the police force, although more than 1,000 Traffic Wardens are needed to take over the management of traffic across Sierra Leone.