UNtrained police deploy across warravaged Liberia

The newly graduated cadets will be working in conflict-torn areas out of police stations that had previously been either overgrown with weeds or overtaken by “renegades, exploiters, rogues, hooligans or factional fighters that used the stations to extort money or carry out their war-like activities,” Mark Kroeker, Civilian Police Commissioner of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), told the UN News Service.Dubbing these officers “internally displaced police,” he said a key component of their mandate is to conduct community policing, which involves working with the local population and leaders to foster democratic law enforcement.Mr. Kroeker welcomed donations from the United States and China which have supported the effort so far, but said much more funding – not just unfulfilled pledges – is needed to consolidate gains and achieve progress.”We really need [donations] to help give them the fundamental logistics – pens and pencils, paper and log books,” he said, stressing that a new station requires only the most basic supplies in order to function, but even those are lacking.”They don’t even have proper uniforms,” he added. The police officers wear T-shirts and ID cards to identify themselves. Mr. Kroeker said the situation was “pitiful,” and noted that the recruits have “no weapons and no equipment, just their willingness to go out there and do their job.”UN police officers have used their own money to pay for supplies and clothing, while local communities have also pitched in to help the nascent force. Neighbours, Mr. Kroeker said, are “anxious to have the police come back.””If you want schools to open, businesses to thrive, and institutions to start working, you have to have a secure, stable, peaceful, environment and that comes from establishing the rule of law,” he said.The system, he added, “begins with the police.” read more

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