HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE FORCE
The art and science of policing have been perceived differently by different sociologists. This variance in perceptions has warranted various definitions. For some social theorists, the term `Police` connotes a group of people employed to investigate crime. A critical examination of this definition gives the reader (s) an insight into the duties and functions of the Police. Modern policing demands a broader definition. Hence, `Police` can now be defined as `an organised group of people employed, trained and charged with the following responsibilities:
- Maintaining law and order
- Preventing and detecting crime
- Enforcing law
- Regulating traffic flow of vehicles and pedestrians
- Investigating crimes and prosecuting offenders
- Ensuring the safety and security of the people
- Protecting life and property
- Apprehending offenders
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE
The Sierra Leone Police Force is the brainchild of the British Government. Its inception dates back to 1808 when Freetown was declared a British Crown Colony. In the absence of any formal organised body to keep the peace, some retired British Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates were appointed by Magistrates to come to Sierra Leone to maintain law and order.
Between 1863 -1888, the then Police Force had metamorphosed in order to address the ugly incidents which were rearing their heads especially during the 1881 Koya and 1888 Sherbro disturbances. These disturbances led to the deployment of Police along the frontier. In 1889, therefore, the Police Force was divided – Military and Frontier duties were taken over by the FRONTIER POLICE, while Civilian duties were left with the Civilian Police. The Frontier Police subsequently became known as the COURT MESSENGER FORCE, and were made responsible for the PROTECTORATE while the Civilian Police were made responsible for the colony.
AIMS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE FORCE
THE POLICING CHARTER
THE AIMS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE FORCE
Sierra Leone is a civilised and democratic state. As a civilised state, it employs a Police Force whose main duty is to maintain law and order at an acceptable-level throughout the country. As a democratic state, it has fitted its Police Force into the framework of its legal and social system so that, the members of the Police Force act within the principles of the Rule of Law.
The Sierra Leone Police Force has therefore a special responsibility to the Government of the day and general responsibility to the public at large.
In August 1998, the President of Sierra Leone at the time –Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabba, published the following Policing Charter.
`My Government wants to create a Police service which will be a credit to the nation`
THE ROLE OF THE POLICE
The Sierra Leone Police will return our communities to peace and prosperity by acting in a manner which will:
- Eventually remove the need for the deployment of Military and Para-Military Forces from our Villages, communities and city Streets.
- Ensure the safety and security of all people and their property
- Respect human rights of all individuals.
- Prevent and detect crime by using the most effective methods which can be made available to them.
- Take account of local concerns through community consultation
- At all levels be free from corruption.
The personnel policies of the Sierra Leone Police will be the same for all members, regardless of sex or ethnic origin. All recruitments, trainings, postings, promotions and opportunities for development will be based on a published equal opportunities policy.
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT
The Government will do all in its power to ensure that the Sierra Leone Police is:
- Directed and managed in accordance with the Constitution
- Locally managed so as to ensure that the community views are always taken into consideration
- Adequately resourced and financed
- Well equipped to undertake its duties
- Professionally trained
- Dynamically led and
- That the terms and conditions of service for members of the Sierra Leone Police reflect the importance of the task they perform.
THE ROLE OF THE PEOPLE
In order that our Police Officers can successfully fulfil our expectations, it is essential that all people of Sierra Leone help and support them at all times.
Our aim is to see a reborn Sierra Leone Police, which will be a `Force for Good` in our nation.
Consultation took place as a response to the above Charter amongst Senior Officers of the Sierra Leone Police Force and they came out with the following:
From this consultation, a four part Mission Statement was produced by the Sierra Leone Police
The first part deals with what we are going to do:
We will provide a professional and effective service which:
- Protects life and property
- Achieves a peaceful society
- Takes primacy in the maintenance of law and order.
- We will respect human rights and the freedoms of the individual
- We will be honest, impartial, caring and free from corruption
- We will respond to local needs
- We will value our own people
- We will involve all in developing our priorities.
- To win public confidence by offering reliable, caring and accountable Police service.
We all have a part to play. If a single Police Officer receives a few thousand Leones bribe to allow a traffic offender to escape prosecution, or takes advantage of his position as a Police Officer, it reflects on all of us. Furthermore, such actions are a criminal offence. By adhering to our values, we will win the respect of the public; thereby achieving our aim.
By working together we can truly become a `Force for Good`.
ADDRESS: George Street Freetown, Sierra Leone