UN Envoy in Liberia commissions two new UN-funded police stations and outlines new steps to tackle crime


Margibi, Liberia - "Your security is important and we will ensure that the rainy season does not provide a cover for those who threaten their fellow citizens," the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Liberia, Mr. Alan Doss, declared as he commissioned two newly constructed police stations in Schiefflin and Unification towns, just outside the capital.

The buildings were constructed with funds made available through the Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) initiative of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Pointing out that the Liberia National Police (LNP) was now armed, SRSG Doss said, "We have agreed with the Government to further strengthen the LNP's armed response capacity." The SRSG noted that UNMIL and the Government had been working to ensure that a well equipped and mobile LNP was present in all parts of Liberia, and commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Government for providing additional financial support to boost the LNP.

He said UNMIL Military Police and UNPOL, with the LNP, had started dusk to dawn foot patrols in high crime areas. "Vehicles and premises will be searched if there is good reason to suspect that criminals are being sheltered or criminal activities are taking place," he added and urged all Liberians to fully support the LNP. These measures have become necessary as reports suggest an upsurge in criminal activity in Monrovia and its suburbs during the country's rainy season.

Mr. Doss expressed satisfaction that, so far, more than 3,200 LNP officers had been trained and added that he was optimistic that the target of 3,500 would be achieved by July 2007; in addition, planning is well advanced on creating a quick reaction unit within the LNP that can deal with serious threats to public order. But he cautioned Liberians not to take the law into their own hands by engaging in mob violence.

In her remarks during the ceremony, the Justice Minister, Frances Johnson-Morris, also urged the people of Margibi County and all Liberians not to resort to mob violence. She further called on all citizens to work closely with the LNP to help the police do an effective job. "Help them; trust them; work with them so that Margibi would be seen as a county of law-abiding citizens," she emphasized. Counsellor Johnson-Morris also expressed the Government's appreciation for the level of support that UNMIL was providing to strengthen the rule of law in Liberia.

The commissioning ceremony was also attended by Margibi County Superintendent, Mr. Levi Piah, among other local county officials, LNP Deputy Inspector-General for Operations, Mr. Gayflor Tarpeh, UNPOL Acting Commissioner for UN Police, Mr. Generaal Maritz Du Toit, the Chief of UNMIL's Quick Impact Projects, Ms. Faith Harding, and senior UNMIL and Liberian police officials.