The UN Envoy, Ellen Margrethe Loj has said the handing over of new training facilities to the Liberia National Police (LNP) is a sign that efforts are being redoubled to train the Liberian National Police and to achieve the goal of a well and fully-functional democratic force.
Ms. Loj made these remarks when she handed a seven classroom-building at the National Police Training Academy in Paynesville, Monrovia on June 20th 2009.
The SRSG noted that she was particularly pleased to hand over the building because the UN has been working with the LNP for close to one year on a strategic plan for the LNP.
The plan which prioritizes areas in significant changes, such as in human resources and training; administration and operational effectiveness and efficiency.
Envoy Løj expressed appreciation to the Government of the Netherlands for supporting the construction of the building and called on the LNP to Endeavour to maintain the facility.
For his part, the UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Henrik Steirnblad said, “the Dutch Government has donated close to two million US$ to several programs in support of the LNP, and the building of these classrooms is the most costly and most significant.” He added that the funding would go further towards equipping the police with uniforms and basic defensive gear. It would also fund an educational support program aimed at female candidates entering the police service.
Ms. Løj further emphasized the need to recruit more women in the LNP as it would create the trust which is needed in the population, and is important for a well functioning police force.
Present at the ceremony were senior UN and LNP officials, including Mr. William K. Mulbah, Deputy Commissioner for Training and Development at the National Police and Training Academy.
The completion and handing over of the building was a significant development, taking place in advance of a donors’ technical roundtable organized by the LNP and the UN Police on June 23rd. The roundtable addressed the need to fund the Plan’s detailed priorities and support the LNP’s renewed service-oriented approach, which aims to be more responsive to the needs of the public and communities. The Plan hopes to instill public confidence in the police and criminal justice system. The UN Envoy challenged the Government of Liberia, partners and donors and the UN itself to show dedication and commitment to the implementation of the Plan; otherwise it will just be a piece of paper.