UN Deputy Envoy, Mr. Jordan Ryan, has urged the new Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP), that it must be “ever ready” to implement newly acquired skills and deal effectively with crime and law and order incidents.
Mr. Ryan, who is also the UNDP Resident Representative for Liberia, made the remarks at the handover of a fleet of 18 brand new vehicles to the Liberia National Police (LNP) at the Liberia Police Academy. The US $1.4 million donation, by the Republic of Ireland, through UNDP, is part of a multi-sectoral project aimed at building LNPs capacity and addressing some of the systemic challenges impeding the ability of the police to serve the public. The Irish contribution funded the vehicles that will enable the ERU to execute crowd and riot control, curb crime and respond to emergency situations requiring high levels of professional skills.
“Ongoing concerns regarding crime, such as incidents of gender-based violence and armed robbery, highlight the urgency of establishing a more responsive police force,” said Mr. Ryan. He pointed out that although a lot of progress had been achieved in consolidating peace, there were still many challenges to be addressed in security sector reform and strengthening the rule of law.
In his remarks, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Philip A.Z. Banks, expressed appreciation on behalf of the Government of Liberia and said, “The donation takes the LNP closer to responding faster and more efficiently to emergency situations.” He also said that the donation would improve the quality, performance and response time and bring pride, honor and glory to the police.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ms. Beatrice M. Sieh, thanked the Government of Ireland and UNDP for the donation, and appealed to other governments to support other sections of the LNP which she acknowledged “face many challenges in the performance of their duties – especially the lack of transport and other logistical deficiencies”.
Training of the new officers of the ERU is continuing, with the first batch of 143 progressing to the second level of their specialized training. Of the 18 vehicles, 17 are pickups while one is an ambulance, equipped to deal with swift emergency responses. The remaining fleet of 12 vehicles is expected in Liberia at the end of August.
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