The new Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB), Richard Shealton Freeman has told the leaders of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) that the essence of the IPCB is to help enhance trust and confidence of the public in the police.
Mr. Freeman was on Wednesday 6th March, 2019 addressing members of the Executive Management Board (EMB) of the SLP at the police headquarters, George Street, Freetown.
The Chairman reiterated that the Board has the mandate to receive and investigate complaints about personnel of the SLP, stressing that the mandate of the IPCB enshrined in Section 3 (1&2) of the IPCB Regulations, 2013, gives the Board the authority to investigate complaints about potential police abuses against civilians.
He said the Board plays a critical role in maintaining the security of the state, hence listens to complaints from the people against police officers and also from some police officers against the police agency. “In dealing with such matters, we have to be very professional, honest and our integrity is also at stake if we do not handle such issues the way they should be handled” he added.
The Chairman disclosed that the IPCB was in the process of upgrading its current Regulations into an Act of Parliament. It is understood that the Police Council established the Board through the Regulations it promulgated in July of 2013 with the hope of it graduating to a Commission.
Speaking on a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) sent to the previous Inspector General of Police over two years ago, Mr. Freeman said the aim of the MoU was to further strengthen the working relationship between the institutions, especially dealing with the referral of matters which fall within the remit of both organizations and share with each other as far as is legal and practicable information in each agency’s possession relevant to matters within the jurisdiction of the other. He opined that both agencies could deliver better services to the populace if there is cooperation, integrity, trust and confidence between the two bodies.
In order to have members of the SLP well informed on the mandate, functions and powers of the Board, the Chairman called on the Inspector General of Police to provide slots in their training programmes for the IPCB to engage the police.
Welcoming the IPCB Chairman and team, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. Richard Moigbe congratulated Mr. Freeman on his appointment by the President. He assured the IPCB that the SLP is willing and ready to work with the civilian oversight body.
The Inspector General of Police informed the Chairman that the Sierra Leone Police was immensely contributing to global peacekeeping, disclosing that the SLP presently has deployment in South Sudan.
Responding to the need to have an MoU with the Board, the IGP also underscored the need for signing the working document and requested for a copy of the MoU which he promised to peruse the contents and revert to the IPCB for subsequent signing.
On the training slots, Dr. Moigbe stressed the importance of police officers knowing the mandate and functions of the IPCB, and therefore called on the Director of Training to provide slots for the IPCB in every training, including recruits, refresher and management trainings.