By Amadu Femoh Sesay
Sierra Leone — More than 25 stakeholders and partners drawn from the educational, public, private, police, media, non-governmental organizations on Tuesday 12th January 2016 validated the Independent Police Complaints Board’s (IPCB) Strategic Plan at a workshop hosted by the Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU), Wesley Street in Freetown.
The rationale behind the validation exercise was to allow stakeholders and partners scrutinize the document which will serve as the IPCB’s ‘road map’ for the next five years. The Plan was sent out to all the participants four days before validation to enable them examine and analyze the document and also note areas of concern.
In her opening remarks and overview, the Chairperson for the occasion, Sidratu Koroma, Director, PSRU, pointed out that the IPCB is an independent civilian oversight body which operates at arm’s length from both elected officials and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in giving effect to its mandate.
Ms. Koroma said the IPCB has taken the initiative to do with whatever resources they have to achieve good results and stressed that the Board must be commended for its efforts.
The Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB), Valentine Collier, told the gathering that the IPCB will serve as a bridge between the public and the SLP, stressing that it will always be the aim of the Board to bring both sides closer in order to foster better understanding, harmonious and good working relationship in the interest of the common good, adding that the IPCB is not here to confront the police.
In his closing remarks, the IPCB Chairman thanked the participants that all their varied inputs will be taken in good faith and that the Board will continue to build and maintain good relationships with its various partners, and in particular the police and the community at large.
Opinions from the floor suggested that the IPCB needed to constantly maintain high levels of accountability, openness and transparency, thereby creating enough credibility to win the trust and confidence of the people.
The Board’s approach which aims at institution building has been multi-dimensional which has so far yielded good returns.
This maiden Strategic Plan was prepared through an interactive, hands-on work and consultative process involving the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and IPCB, as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Access to Security and Justice Programme (ASJP).
The Plan speaks to the strategic goal and objectives for the IPCB for the next five years (2016 to 2020) and highlights the Board’s continued commitment to develop its capacity and professionalism while increasing its intake of complaints and its performance on investigation.
The Plan herein sets out the priorities for the IPCB and will specifically receive and investigate complaints; refer cases for prosecution and administrative procedures; enhance its human resource capacity; undertake research; conduct outreach; monitor and evaluate its performance; produce regular statistics on police abuse and criminality, and coordination with partners.