RESPONSE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION ELECTION FOLLOW-UP MISSION REPORT

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THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE (SLP) NOTES WITH GRAVE CONCERN THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE PRESS RELEASE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ELECTION FOLLOW-UP REPORT ON SIERRA LEONE DATED 29TH OCTOBER 2021. THE EU PRESS RELEASE STATES INTER ALIA THAT; “THE MISSION HAS BEEN TOLD THAT THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DECREASE IN TRUST IN THE ESSENTIAL BODIES WHICH PLAY INTEGRAL ROLES IN THE FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS. THESE INCLUDE THE JUDICIARY, NEC, PPRC AND THE POLICE”.

THE SLP WISHES TO STATE THAT, EVEN THOUGH THE RELEASE NEVER CALLED THE POLICE TO QUESTION ON ANY SPECIFIC MATTER WHICH COULD HAVE PRECIPITATED THE ASSERTION OF MISTRUST AS CONTAINED IN THE REPORT; THE EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT BOARD OF THE SLP IS NEVERTHELESS OBLIGED TO RESPOND TO THE REPORT, WITH THE VIEW TO UPDATING THE PUBLIC AND BRINGING TO THE FORE SOME STRATEGIC MEASURES THE SLP HAS UNDERTAKEN OVER THE YEARS, IN PURSUIT OF ACHIEVING ITS MANDATE, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO IMPROVING ON THE MANAGEMENT OF ELECTIONS.

MANAGEMENT WOULD LIKE TO REITERATE THAT THE SLP IS EXTREMELY AWARE OF ITS GENERAL STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITY OF MAINTAINING PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY; AND THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT IT PLAYS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF ELECTIONS.

AS YOU ARE ALL AWARE, SINCE THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR IN 2002 TO DATE, THE SLP HAS SUCCESSFULLY POLICED ALL PUBLIC ELECTIONS INCLUDING FOUR (4) PARLIAMENTARY AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WITH PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POLITICAL POWER GENERALLY ACCLAIMED NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY AS FREE, FAIR AND CREDIBLE.

COGNIZANT TO THE ABOVE, MANAGEMENT WOULD LIKE THE EUROPEAN UNION ELECTION FOLLOW UP MISSION AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO BE REMINDED THAT THE SLP IS A DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION ESTABLISHED BY AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT, THAT IS, THE POLICE ACT OF 1964 AND THE 1991 CONSTITUTION OF SIERRA LEONE AND IT HAS ALWAYS MAINTAINED A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC IN WORKING WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE LAW. THE SLP IS THEREFORE NOT AVERSE TO ANY PUBLIC OPINION AS IT IS A DYNAMIC ORGANIZATION. IN ACHIEVEMENT OF THE ABOVE, THE SLP HAS OVER THE YEARS CONSISTENTLY UNDERTAKEN THE FOLLOWING MEASURES SO AS TO FURTHER ENHANCE AND IMPROVE ON PUBLIC TRUST AND CONFIDENCE:

  1. INVOLVED THE PEOPLE IN THE POLICING OF THE COMMUNITIES THROUGH PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN POLICING THE COUNTRY.
  1. TRAINED PERSONNEL ON A RANGE OF POLICING ISSUES INCLUDING POLICING ELECTIONS IN A DEMOCRATIC STATE;
  2. EFFECTIVELY COLLABORATED WITH OTHER ELECTION MANAGEMENT BODIES AT ALL LEVELS
  3. ENGAGED POLITICAL PARTIES ON KEY ISSUES OF SECURITY IN THE RUN UP TO BYE-ELECTIONS OR OTHER ELECTIONS WHENEVER THE NEED ARISES;
  4. PROVIDED ADEQUATE SECURITY FOR POLITICAL ACTORS AND POLITICAL CONFRONTATIONS IN THOSE OFFICES;
  1. ESTABLISHED AN ELECTION MANAGEMENT DESK AT OPERATION POLICY PLANNING DEPARTMENT (OPPD) IN MURRAY TOWN MANNED BY A SENIOR POLICE OFFICER THIS ELECTION MANAGEMEN DESK IS TASKED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY TO LIAISE AND CONSTANTLY ENGAGE OTHER KEY PLAYERS LIKE  NEC, PPRC, ONS, RSLAF AND ELECTIONS MANAGEMENT BODIES INCLUDING POLITICAL PARTIES;
  1. CONTINUED TO ENGAGE THE GOVERNMENT AND OTHER PARTNERS IN ADDRESSING LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES
  2. ADEQUATELY DEPLOYED PERSONNEL BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER ALL ELECTIONS ACCORDING TO THE PERCEPTION SURVEY, 2019 “… 65.7% OF THE RESPONDENTS DESCRIBE THE ACCESSIBILITY TO THE SLP SERVICES AS EITHER VERY EASY, SIMPLE AND STRAIGHT AND MORE THAN THREE-FIFTH OF THE SIERRA LEONEAN POPULATION PERCEIVED THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SLP TO BE GOOD…”.

THE SLP IS THEREFORE AT LOSS IN APPRECIATING HOW THE EU FINDING THAT THE SLP IS LESS TRUSTED THAN NEEDED COULD BE BASED ON WHAT IT WAS TOLD BY UNDISCLOSED SOURCES, WHOSE PERSONAL INTERESTS MAY NOT BE UNCONNECTED WITH THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO THE EU.

AS THE PUBLIC IS AWARE, THE SLP HAS JUST RECEIVED AN ACCOLADE FROM AN INDEPENDENT AND CREDIBLE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION, THE SOCIETY FOR DEMOCRATIC INITIATIVE (SDI) AS THE MOST COMPLIANT INSTITUTION ON THE RIGHT TO ACCESS INFORMATION FOR 2020/21. THE SLP WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED IF THE EUROPEAN UNION ELECTION FOLLOW UP MISSION TO SIERRA LEONE HAD ENGAGED THE SLP FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.

THE SLP WANTS TO REASSURE THE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE THAT, IT IS EVER POISED TO CONTINUE PROVIDING PROFESSIONAL POLICING SERVICES FOR THEM AND ALSO ENCOURAGES ALL CITIZENS TO ALWAYS BE LAW ABIDING. MANAGEMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THE VARIOUS COMMUNITY SUPPORTS THAT THE SLP HAS BEEN RECEIVING AND ENCOURAGES THE COMMUNITIES TO CONTINUE. THE SLP ALSO IMPLORES ALL DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING THE SLP IN PROVIDING PROFESSIONAL POLICING SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE.

THE SLP WILL CONTINUE WITH ITS GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP AND COLLABORATION WITH THE ELECTION MANAGEMENT BODIES, POLITICAL PARTIES AND OTHER PARTNERS AT BOTH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS INCLUDING THE EUROPEAN UNION ELECTION FOLLOW UP MISSION TO SIERRA LEONE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF ELECTIONS IN SIERRA LEONE.

 

AMBROSE MICHAEL SOVULA (PhD)

INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE

 CONTACT NUMBERS: +23277-361070 / +23277- 507955.

DATED: 4TH NOVEMBER, 2021.

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