The Resident Minister North – East, Hon. Abu Abu Koroma has told a cross section of community residents in Makeni that the New Direction meant new thoughts (positive thinking).
He was speaking on Thursday 15th July, 2021 at the SLTU Hall in Makeni City during a session of the Regional Consultative Engagements on the Review of the Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) Regulations, 2013.
The Resident Minister said the transformation of the Regulations into an Act of Parliament was very significant to the development of the country, adding that the review exercise was part of boosting the ‘New Direction’ – the Agenda of the government of Sierra Leone.
He re-echoed the views of the public that it was crucial for the country to have a vibrant independent civilian oversight Agency that would serve as a bridge between the civil populace and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP). Hon. Koroma said the expected Bill when enacted into an Act of Parliament would “add value to policing system and also enhance public trust and confidence in the SLP” as an institution of government.
On the need for the expected Agency to also provide oversight for the Chiefdom Police and Municipal Police, he referred to it as a laudable initiative as it would bring professionalism and respect to the bodies, especially the former which many people now refer to as “NA gbada”.
The Resident Minister assured the public and officials of the IPCB of government’s support in the transformation process. This assurance is in consonance with President Julius Maada Bio committing his government’s support towards the IPCB, while receiving the IPCB 2017 Annual Report on Monday 15th October, 2018 at State House.
President Bio said: “We will support the IPCB because it helps promote democracy and human rights in the country. Because you get lots of complaints, you should have the statutory status to be able to do your work”.
The Chairman of the IPCB, Mr. Richard Shealton Freeman said the Agency was in the Regional capitals to engender public views on the Report submitted by the Technical Working Group (TWG) formed in 2019. He recalled that in the same year, with financial support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the IPCB embarked on Regional Consultative Engagements on the review of the IPCB Regulations, 2013. Mr. Freeman furthered that those views expressed by the public were submitted to the TWG for scrutiny in line with ‘international best practice’.
The Chairman said the “IPCB is a promoter of police image”, maintaining that part of the work of the Board “is to enhance public trust and confidence in the police”.
The Inter-Religious Council Representative on the IPCB Board, Rev. Moses Khanu told the gathering that the Board has done so much, but there were loopholes in the Regulations which continue to prevent the Agency from fully delivering on its mandate. He said the process which commenced in 2019 was brought to a sudden halt as a result of the emergence of the covid – 19 outbreak in the country.
Likening the expected Agency to a Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the Reverend said the institution will have the capacity to swiftly investigate police excesses and appropriate actions taken thereby enhancing civil populace trust and confidence in the police.
The session targeted the Resident Minister, Provincial Secretary, SLP, Traders, Drivers and Bike Riders’ Unions, Civil Society Activists, Human Rights Defenders, SLAJ, traditional authorities, LPPB, among others.
The on-going review exercise which commenced in 2019 is financially supported by the UNDP as part of its support in strengthening state institutions.