By Lansana Fofanah.
One thousand and eight trained and qualified Police recruits have graduated from the Police Training School (PTS) at Hastings; outside of Freetown last Friday. The ceremony was graced by His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, international partners and the rank and file of the police force.
Giving his keynote address, President Koroma said that the essence of good policing is an integral part in developing the country, adding that his government will continue to commit the support needed by the Police to make it a competent and professional force in the sub region.
“I am delighted to see the implementation of the United Nations Resolution 1325 by the police which calls for gender parity, empowerment of women and disables. After our country went through a deadly civil war, we are now peace ambassadors in the world as our own forces are now taking part in peace keeping missions”, he said.
President Koroma said that the reintroduction of police rice supply and the payment of eight months backlog supply of rice is a manifestation of his administration’s commitment in making the police a ‘Force for Good’.
He assured that there has been a budget allocated for the construction of the Sierra Leone Peace Keeping and Law Enforcement Academy at Makomp, and upon completion, the country will have an academy to train international peace keepers and make the country an enviable one in Africa.
President Koroma cautioned politicians not to see themselves as unassailable and do things with impunity as no one is above the law.
The Inspector General of Police, Dr. Richard Moigbe said that with these latest recruits, the police force is now confident of policing the 2018 elections.
He expressed appreciation for the massive support from government and donor partners and said that, the recruitment process started in 2014, but was halted because of the Ebola outbreak in May that year.
“We enlisted 2383 for training. But today, we have one thousand and eight certified and trained police officers that have graduated. The others will also come out after completing their ‘on the job training…Among those that are graduating, we have five medical doctors, two lawyers and two engineers. Others that were enlisted with degrees will also get their promotions after going through some experience”, he said.
He said that the United Nations certified the SLP to train peace keepers in 2017, and now, the SLP has become exporters of peace to unstable regions in other parts of the world.
He said that when he assumed office, he instituted a quick impact strategic program that will provide working platforms for the force in this election period.
Under this strategy, there is procurement on the way for water bowser vehicles, a need for establishing a police radio that will be used to educate the communities about the rate of crime and other sensitive information that are necessary to maintain the peace , and a running toll free hotline which is 112.
He admonished the graduates to live by ethics and principles learned during their training and to ensure that Sierra Leoneans will continue to get the best force they deserve.