IPCB Engages Residents in Yele, Sahn Malen and Koindu

Police officers and chiefs posed for a group photo at Koindu Town

The Programmes and Communications Department of the Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) has from Sunday 20th to Friday 25th October, 2019 engaged police officers, chiefs and other community residents in Yele, Yelen Chiefdom in Tonkolili District, Sahn Malen, Malen Chiefdom in Pujehun District and Koindu Town, Kissi Teng Chiefdom in Kailahun District.
According to Amadu Femoh Sesay who is in charge of Programmes and Communications at the IPCB, the essence of the outreach engagement was to create awareness amongst residents of those communities and their environs on the establishment, mandate, functions, activities undertaken so far and future plans of the IPCB.
The community residents were also informed of the processes involved in making complaints against police officers if abused by members of the Sierra Leone police.
Welcoming the IPCB, Hon. Paramount Chief Victor B. S Kebbie of Malen Chiefdom said he was pleased to have the Board in his chiefdom, adding that it was good that the agency was in Sahn Malen to remind the police that they need to continue working in accordance with the law.
In the absence of the Regent Chief, the Speaker of Yele Chiefdom, Chief David Fullah extended the chiefdom’s gratitude to the Board and confessed to have never heard of the IPCB until this engagement.
Expressing gratitude for the IPCB’s engagement, Chief Samuel Bockarie Foyor, Section Chief of Torli where Koindu is located, welcomed the session while describing it as “informative, educative and vis-à-vis access to justice for his subjects”.
Some of the police personnel confessed that they thought the IPCB was a “witch-hunting” agency taking into consideration the existence of the Complaints, Discipline and Internal Investigations Department (CDIID) of the SLP. They expressed “Listening to how the institution conducts its investigations has given us some reasons that the IPCB was established to root out officers who do bad and at the same time protect the decent ones”. They encouraged the IPCB to continue with its job on the principles of fairness, respect for human rights, honesty and diligence, etc.
The community residents were pleased to have the IPCB at their door steps, and called on the agency to create the necessary platform, by way of organizing an activity that would bring together the police and the people during which issues causing strain relationship between the two groups would be addressed. They called on the IPCB to design refresher training for personnel in the localities especially those carrying firearms, noting the lack of knowledge by certain officers on the basic principles in the use of force and firearms.
During the engagements, residents, including police officers raised concerns over poor welfare condition for personnel with special reference to inadequate supply of uniform, monthly rice supply and the lack of other logistics including vehicles, if available will enhance effective and quality service delivery in and around the communities.
After each engagement, the IPCB further engaged the residents on their community radios – Radio Gbonkolenken 93.7 fm, Malen Community Radio 88.5 fm and the SLBC 95.1 F.M in Kailahun town.
This is the first time the institution has engaged residents in these communities since it was formally launched in October, 2015.
The IPCB team comprised of Amadu Femoh Sesay, Programmes and Communications Officer; Joseph Sesay, Regional Outreach Officer-North; Mustapha Musa, Regional Outreach Officer-South; and Vandy Bawoh, Regional Outreach Officer-East.