The Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) has on Monday 9th September, 2019 commenced its 2nd phase of district level training in the South and Eastern Regions on Civilian Oversight Mechanism for the Police, starting with Moyamba District.
Addressing participants in each session, the IPCB Communications Officer and Lead Facilitator, Amadu Femoh Sesay disclosed that the essence of the training was to among other things further enhance awareness on the existent, mandate and functions of the IPCB as an oversight agency for the Sierra Leone Police.
The Lead Facilitator said the activity funded by the UNDP focuses on Police Oversight and Accountability Mechanism in Sierra Leone; Democratic Policing and its Benefits to Society; and Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials in Sierra Leone.
Making a statement, Hon. Paramount Chief Alhaji Badara Sheriff of Jong Chiefdom commended the IPCB for taking its activities to the doors of the people. On the challenges of the Board, Hon. Sheriff who is representing the Bonthe District Council of Paramount Chiefs in the House of Parliament said that government needs to adequately support the IPCB in order to deliver on its mandate of holding the police accountable for their actions.
In his presentation, the Regional Outreach Officer – South, Mustapha Musa, told the participants that anyone above 18 years, including Paramount Chiefs, Members of Parliament, Councilors, Mammy Queens, among others who suffers from police excesses can lodge a complaint with the IPCB. He added that complaints must be backed up with evidential materials and witnesses.
The Local Unit Commander of Bonthe Police Division, CSP Samuel Kargbo said his Division was pleased to benefit from the training. He added that “the training will serve as a refresher exercise for his officers since they had been trained on similar courses”.
A Civil Society Activist, Joseph D. Silvalie also commended the IPCB for creating the platform on which civilians and the police can interface thereby discussing issues of concerns for both parties. Mr. Silvalie called on the Board to continue with its awareness campaigns, noting that such engagements have the unlimited propensity to “bridge the divide between the community and the police”.
The questions posed by the beneficiaries revealed that many of them were not aware of the mandate and the principles on the use of force and firearms by police officers. The community residents singled out the unhealthy relationship existing between some of them and the police due to alleged ‘heavy handedness’ during the discharge of the latter’s duties. They see the IPCB as a means through which justice and fairness will hopefully prevail in matters involving them and the police.
IPCB will also conduct same in Bo City on Friday 13th September, 2019.
Similar trainings were held in the North and North -West Regions in June and July this year.