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Sierra Leone Police Official: Security Improving

Peter Clottey February 16, 2011

Sierra Leone’s Inspector General of Police has told VOA the current security situation in the country is significantly improving following the country’s 11-year civil war that left at least 50,000 dead.

Francis Munu said the country’s police administration has been able to curb the previously high crime rate, as well as nationwide insecurity, following the country’s civil war.

“The security situation is relatively peaceful in the sense that people are going about their normal business and there is no impediment on people preventing them from going about their business, and the crime rate is also very low. We have a lot of foreign visitors coming and enjoying themselves and the crime rate is one of the lowest in the sub-region. So, I can say the security situation in the country is very good and is improving,” said Munu.

“Security personnel are also being professionalized. The police are on a capacity-building whereby they try to increase their numbers. They also provide the necessary training and equip them with the relevant skills that are required to provide more than policing. They are also being provided with the necessary logistics to enable them to perform their duties in a professional manner.”

Security analysts say, despite growing stability in the West African sub-region, the social and political situation in several countries, including Sierra Leone, remain fragile.

But, Munu said the government has embarked upon what he described as an exceptional security sector transformation, which he said has helped reduce the country’s crime rate and the chances for instability.

“When we finally attained peace in 2002, one of the very important tasks which the government undertook was to carry out a security sector reform program where the military and the police were restructured to reflect their present and future responsibilities of providing security for the country, and office of National Security was established as a body responsible for coordinating security activities in the country,” said Munu.

“The military was provided with relevant training, was right-sized and given more than military training. The police also was provided with a structure that would enable it to perform its role efficiently and effectively. “

Analysts say, in recent years, Sierra Leone has been experiencing considerable economic growth in spite of concerns of poverty and unemployment that they say remain the biggest challenges.

Meanwhile, in 2010, the U.N. Security Council lifted the remaining sanctions against Sierra Leone in the wake of the civil war. The sanctions included an arms embargo and travel bans imposed in 1997.

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