Monrovia - Liberia National Police (LNP) Deputy Commission for Administration designate Sadatu L.M. Reeves has vowed to tackle public misconduct of Police officers.
Reeves also vowed to work collaboratively with the LNP Inspector General designate, Patrick T. Sudue, to strengthen discipline in the ranks and files of the Police force.
Madam Reeves was speaking when she shared the witness stand with Mr. Sudue on Tuesday February 7, before the joint vetting committee of the Liberian Senate in the open chamber of the Capitol Building - seat of the Liberian Legislature.
The joint vetting committee, which is headed by Senator Thomas Grupee, includes the committee on Judiciary, Defense, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs.
In line with Article 54 of the Liberian Constitution of 1986, the two top Police officials designate like previous nominees, were invited to explain their academic qualifications, job experiences, suitability and to give reasons why the Senate should consent with the President of the Republic of Liberia to head the nation’s top internal security posts.
Madam Reeves stressed that it would be “extremely difficult” for the LNP to execute its national mandate which includes the protection of citizens, property and public order in the absence of a “well discipline force”.
“Our Police officers have proven to be of good service in the streets, communities and other public duties.
"Yet, we continue to receive complaints about the attitudes and conduct of some officers from the general public,” Madam Reeves said.
“We are going to ensure that allegations of Police misbehaviors are investigated. If found guilty that Police officer will bear the penalty for his or her action.”
Responding to the committee’s inquiry about officers untidy dressing, she said the LNP budget burden goes beyond basic salaries and leaves the administration with little or no money to take care of operations including uniforms and other logistics.
“As a Police officer, your first public impression is your uniform. That brings respect. But interestingly most of our officers’ uniforms are in bad shape. The reason is no money in the budget for administration to periodically issue new outfits,” she said.
“For example, I have been offered uniforms only twice over the past 15 years in the Police.
This goes for junior Police officers that the only time they got uniform was their graduation from the Police training academy.
Our continue appeal is for you to at least help the officers look decent in the streets by allowing allotment for uniforms and other basic logistics and operational funds passed in the budget.”
The deputy LNP chief designate craves the indulgence of the Liberian senate to ensure that additional laws are needed to curtail Police misconduct.
The LNP public performance record in the U.S. Department of State 2016 country report on the state of human rights in Liberia showed massive misconducts in the force.
The report documented several Police irregularities including Police corruption, alleged abuses, harassment, brutality and intimidation of persons in its custody.
Particularly, the report reference the Independent National Commission on Human Rights report of violent Police action during arrests as the most common misconduct, adding there were instances during the year in which civilian security forces acted with impunity.