-Holds Discussion On Community, Police Roles In Fighting Crimes
As part of effort in fighting crimes and maintaining peace in communities, a local human rights organization, Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) has concluded a daylong interactive forum with community members, and law enforcement officers aim at cementing forces in Robertsport City, Grand Cape Mount County.
Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) has over the years been providing alternatives to enhancing human rights, rule of law, peace and democracy building and victim’s recovery.
The forum is part of the ‘Community Policing Initiative, A Prisoner’s Rights and Police Reform project by Rescue Alternatives Liberia in collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP) with community members saying: “my police, my respect, my support; while Police Officers said: my community, my police, my employers, my strength.
The one-day forum was basically looking at the role of the police in the protection of lives and properties, the role of magistrates in reducing pretrial detention and the role of the communities as partners in maintaining peace and fighting crimes.
The forum at the Robertsport Centennial Memorial Hall brought together over 40 participants. The participants include traditional women, students, magistrates, judges, county administration, police officers and community leaders among others.
As part of their agreement, the community members vowed to report crimes and also work with the police to settle minor offenses rather than going to the police stations which will end up sending alleged perpetrators to prison causing congestion and long stay at those facilities.
The community members also vowed to report those involved in the sale of illicit substances in their respective communities. This, they said will help alleviate neighborhood crimes and make community members have peace.
Giving an overview of the forum, the Program Coordinator of RAL, Sam Nimely reminded the participants about the essence of security, particularly the relationships that must exist between the police and the community.
Nimely said it is now time community and security officers cement forces in making their communities free from crimes and ensure the safety of citizens and properties.
He reminded the participants that community members shouldn’t blame the police in rescuing someone alleged of crimes and other offenses.
“Please feel free to talk to the police on issues. Don’t take laws into your own hands. Work with the police as partners in fighting crimes and making the community safe for everyone,” he said.
Serving as one of the facilitators, the Chief of Operations of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in Grand Cape Mount County, CIP Kelvin M. Korboi drilled the participants on the roles of the police.
According officer Korboi, all criminal cases begin with the police and later at the court. He also said cases the police cannot handle go to court, Minor offenses can be handled amicably if both parties agreed.
“There are cases the community members shouldn’t temper with. A professional police officer should be able to handle weak cases peacefully instead of going to court. This will even help maintain peace in the communities. Let’s work together for the peace in the country,” Korboi said.
He also warned that there is no special way of killing people, and as such; domestic violence must stop. He added “report all crimes related activities, sale of illegal substances, maltreatments among others.”
According to Korboi, they had partnered with community leaders in handling minor offenses and called on all community members to see the police as their friends in protecting lives and properties.
“Community policing helps to build strong bonds, but it doesn’t mean things will automatically change, but it gives chance to the citizens to have peace in the community. Help reduce neighborhood crimes, it will be helpful to the community,” he said.
Meanwhile, police officers, county administration, motorcyclists, youth groups, and others have agreed to follow all measures that will help protect lives and properties and ensure safety
At the end of the day-long training, the participants applauded RAL for what they called ‘important forum’ and promised to exercise what they have learned to their respective communities in working with the police in fighting crimes.