Campaign for the Voiceless (CAMPVO) and other human rights organizations are presently embarking on the visitation of Police Station which started on 18th October, 2010 and will end on the 24th.
The Police Station Visitors Week (PSVW) has become an annual event organized by Altus Global Alliance of which CLEEN Foundation is a founding member.
The Programme Coordinator of CAMPVO stated that his organization has been selected in Sierra Leone by CLEEN Foundation to participate in this year’s visitation event. He added that , “the visit is aimed at getting members of the public to visit their local Police stations and assess them using a simple assessment tool, which contains 20 questions spread across five broad areas namely: community orientation, physical conditions, equal treatment of the public, transparency and accountability and detention conditions”.
The Coordinator noted that visitors will be recruited in the Districts where Police stations are located and grouped into teams of 2 to 4 persons.
There is consideration of gender representation and therefore there will be a minimum of 30% representation for women as part of the visiting team.
The Director of the organization, Julius Kandeh Kanu noted that the “team leaders are tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the visits and writing a detailed comprehensible narrative report”.
He said that while his organization works to achieve respect for human rights of our society’s most vulnerable groups such as women, youths and children, he believes that helping the Sierra Leone Police achieve its dream of becoming a ‘Force for Good’ and a friendly organization which the people of Sierra Leone can trust is one strategic goal of his organization.
He also stated that at the end of the visit a report will be produced which will highlight some of the successes and innovations introduced by the SLP in its reform process as well as some of its challenges and recommendations that could add value to the ongoing reform process in the SLP.
The Director noted that even though his organization is participating for the first time in this annual event, a total of 20 Police stations will be covered this year across the entire country which will give a snap shot of the work of the SLP in the identified Police stations in all regions of the country. This year Campaign for Violence week is expected to be observed by countries like
Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Benin, Niger, Kenya, Liberia and Ghana.
Since its establishment in 2006, CAMPVO has been working to strengthen law enforcement institutions and civil society and to promote public safety, security and accessible justice through empirical research legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications in partnership with government and civil society.
It advocates for respect for democratic practice, human rights and the rule of law in addition to providing human rights education and training, conducting research and advocacy on major rights, justice, and security issues.
This year’s Police Station Visitor’s Week will mark another of the organization’s efforts in helping to rebrand the SLP as well as contribute to identifying some lapses in its performance.
By Abibatu Kamara