Who will police the police when a member or members of the Sierra Leone Police force is or are hitting below the belt when it comes to matters of their job description? It will definitely be the police!
But we no longer have trust in our police force to investigate themselves because whenever they are asked to probe one of their own, they kill the issue at worst and whitewash the findings at best. Even the Complaints, Discipline, Internal, Investigations Department (CDIID) of the Sierra Leone Police has taken after the Anti Corruption Commission—which is doing contrary to its aims and objectives.
We believe that in a situation where the CDIID is usefully useless, a Citizens’ Complaints Committee on the police should be put in place which, as we see it, would be able to come out with independent, credible and fair findings.
The reason why we hold the view that such a committee would be the only way out of the present charade called CDIID is that many incidences involving the police have been made nonsense by this disciplinary committee. People may recalled the “1996 DV Riot” in Freetown when police bullets killed worshippers coming from the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church and up to today no bodying is owning up to the killings.
In 2005, during the “Students’ Riot” in Freetown, a primary school girl was killed by a police bullet and since that time to date the police is unable to explain the killing.
Early this year, there was an incident at Wilkinson Road in which the police stood accused of shooting people and the burning of a taxi driver over alleged stolen fuel. And to date we are yet to get a clear picture from our “force for good” as to what actually occurred that day. We only received a bastardized and adulterated version of the event.
In recent times, we heard of police complicity in the killing of Chief Tony’s houseboy at Spur Road. And we are yet to get anything positive from the police on that episode.
These are just few examples of how the Sierra Leone Police force has been hitting below the belt when it comes to disciplining some of its trigger-happy or bad eggs within its fold.
This is why we believe a Citizens’ Complaints Committee on the police would be a bulwark against chronic police whitewashing of incidents involving its own. We do not want a situation where the police should be policing itself. At least there should be checks on our men in blue. And these are some of the things we would have liked to see in the constitutional review draft.