A record number of over 100 newly-trained women police officers, making up two-thirds of the cadets completing the training for the Liberia National Police (LNP), prompted a senior United Nations official to hail the progress made since the first batch of recruits passed through the gates of the National Police Training Academy in 2005.
“LNP now has 3,800 officers trained in modern policing methods and techniques,” said Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, the Deputy Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), speaking at a graduation ceremony on Saturday.
That total exceeds the initial UN target of 3,500, she added, including 150 new officers of which104 are women, which takes the female representation in the LNP to 449 officers, or 12.6 per cent of its current strength.
While cautioning that the Academy “must not become complacent, but set goals and objectives that reinforce the LNP as a model of professional and democratic police service in the sub-region,” the Deputy Head of UNMIL noted that the vast majority of officers were now educated in the areas of law enforcement relevant to the West African nation.
Almost 2,900 officers have now been trained in the protection of women and children, criminal investigations, traffic investigations, media relations and firearms instruction, in a bid to create a force able to meet the policing needs of all communities.
To date, some 43 police facilities throughout Liberia have been renovated or rebuilt through funding and support from the UN and its partners, working in collaboration with the government and local communities, and there are 35 additional on-going construction projects, including new training facilities at the Police Academy.