The Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) on Wednesday 12th May, 2021 signed a Standard Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the implementation of the project – ‘Improving the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights in Sierra Leone’.
The overall goal of the Agreement which complements the efforts of government of Sierra Leone “is to strengthen and expand infrastructures and systems of the Rule of Law, human rights protection, peace and security in Sierra Leone through interventions that are responsive to the needs, expectations and aspirations of the public and that are geared toward the overarching imperative of sustaining peace and building resilience”.
“The Portfolio will support the enhancement of justice, human rights and social structures and processes that promote national and local level dialogue, prevent and mediate local and national conflicts, and improve citizens’ access to justice” the LOA reads.
Under this agreement, the UNDP will support the IPCB with the sum of Forty-Four Thousand Nine Hundred and Seven Dollars ($ 44, 907) for the implementation of the latter’s activities which gear towards strengthening human rights in the country.
The funding will be used to implement the following activities:
- Support to review the legislative framework of the IPCB and enactment of new Act. The lapses in the current IPCB Regulations, 2013 continue to pose serious challenges to the work of the Board. With funding from the UNDP, the institution commenced the review of the Regulations in 2019 with consultations held in the four Regional capitals and the Western Area to ensure wider and inclusive discussions on the review process; and formation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) which comprised of both state and non-state institutions, and subsequently producing its report. According to the Agreement, “as part of building momentum on steps required for the drafting of the new legislation, the IPCB will again embark on consultative engagements in Freetown and the 4 Regional capitals to engender public views on the suggestions in the TWG Report before sending same to Cabinet through the Minister of Internal Affairs”.
- Support the IPCB to implement the 3rd Phase of the ‘Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa’ (The Luanda Guidelines). The Luanda Guidelines aims to improve criminal justice systems in Africa by reducing the number of people who are wrongfully arrested and detained; improving the treatment of persons subject to arrest, police custody and pre-trial detention to ensure that their treatment complies with the relevant international norms; and improving the skills and knowledge of the police. It was adopted in May 2014 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), during its 55th Ordinary Session in Luanda, Angola, in response to the growing concern over human rights abuses and poor conditions of arrest and detention of persons in police custody and pre-trial detention across Africa.
In 2018 and 2019, the IPCB with financial support from the UNDP, trained 464 and 591 community residents respectively. In July and August, 2021, the Agency will 640 participants, mostly police officers across the country.
- Build the investigative capacity by hiring 2 contract investigators to increase on the intake and speedy completion of cases.