The UN Police has supported the operations of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) from onset in October 2003. The mission’s police component consisted then of up to 1,115 officers. The UN Police, including formed units, have continuously assisted in maintenance of law and order throughout Liberia, and provided backup to the Liberia National Police, when necessary. In addition, UN Police Advisors have served as mentors and provided daily advisory services to the Liberia National Police Headquarters and Training Academy, as well as co-located with individual police stations around Monrovia. The mission is currently implementing a phased drawdown of troops and gradual handover of security responsibilities to the Government of Liberia. UNMIL’s authorized strength will therefore be reduced to 606 police personnel by 30 June 2016.
Security Council (SC) Resolutions
SCR 1509 (2003)
SCR 1836 (2008)
SCR 1885 (2009)
SCR 2008 (2011)
In the implementation of its mandate, UNPOL are guided by the following fundamental principles:
- Promote, protect and respect human rights;
- Provide support that is gender-responsive and with particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups;
- Oppose corruption in all its forms;
- Make every effort to operate in an environmentally conscious manner;
- Conduct thorough and standardized assessments;
- Police core functions shall be implemented within a wider rule of law and SSR context;
- Efforts shall be made to identify and recruit the specialized capacities to fulfil the mandate;
- Support to capacity development shall be demand-driven and appropriate to host State needs;
- Political context shall be recognized;
- Respect of host State ownership and seek broad buy-in;
- Focus on sustainability;
- Regularly evaluate delivery; and
- Cultivate partnerships.
Through partnerships provide dynamic, effective, sustainable capacity building and operational support to the national law enforcement agencies of Liberia
The United Nations Police (UNPOL) component is commanded by a UN Police Commissioner assisted by a Deputy Police Commissioner. The current UNPOL Commissioner is Mr. Gregory Hinds from Australia and his Deputy is Mr. Cesar Hawthorne Binag from the Philippines. The overall UNPOL component is comprised of police officers from about 40 nations, including approximately 15% female representation. In accordance with the current UN mandate, UNPOL’s authorized manpower stands at 498 police advisors, deployed in 30 team sites, including nine team sites in the capital city, Monrovia; and 998 armed police officers assigned in eight Formed Police Units (FPU’s). Three FPUs are deployed in Monrovia and five are currently deployed strategically throughout the country.
Formed Police Units (FPU)
The UN Formed Police Units represent the armed component within UNPOL. The current FPU composition includes two FPU’s from India, two FPU’s from Jordan, two FPU’s from Nepal and one FPU from both Nigeria and China. One of the India FPU’s is made up of all female officers. The FPU’s support the Liberia National Police through:
- Joint patrol support with UNPOL and the national police (LNP), special anti-crime patrol;
- Joint exercises and training with the LNP Police Support Unit (PSU) and Emergency Response Unit (ERU);
- Technical advice to LNP, in particular ERU and PSU;
- Rapid response to demonstrations/crowd control;
- Escorting of VIP’s;
- Providing security at prisons/escorting prisoners (Monrovia Central Prison, Correction Palace in Zwedru);
- Protecting government facilities (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); and
- Capacity building activities.
In addition to their operational support to the LNP, the FPU’s routinely engage in community outreach to strengthen public confidence in law enforcement. FPUs are helping UNMIL to make a difference within Liberian communities.
Some of the outreach programs undertaken are:
- Engaging communities through joint neighborhood “Clean-up Days”;
- Accompanying LNP in visiting local schools and civic events to promote public safety and raise awareness on sensitive issues, such as preventing mob violence and stopping sexual and gender based violence;
- Assisting the LNP in recruitment drives, particularly reaching out to prospective female candidates, and in providing medical check-ups for incoming recruits to the LNP;
- Providing free medical check-ups for community groups and providing advice and instruction on good health practices and basic first aid.
The Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Bureau of Naturalization and Immigration (BIN)
The LNP was established by an Act of National Legislature assembled in 1956. The Act defined the functions and duties of the LNP as preservation of peace; protection of life, limb and property; recovery of lost and stolen property; arrest violators of the law; prevention and detection of crime; enforcement of all laws and ordinances; and testifying in court. The LNP, with support from UNPOL and other partners, has made significant progress in recent years including:
- The LNP strength as of 31 May 2014 is 4,835 (857 females – 3,978 males);
- Within this strength, LNP has an armed ERU comprised of 356 officers, and a PSU comprised of 1,008 officers;
- There are now 189 LNP bases, depots, stations and details across the country;
- Some 59 LNP stations spread throughout the 15 counties have a Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) staffed by one or more of the 210 specially trained officers. Most counties now have a safe house.
- The LNP Crime Services Division has improved crime scene investigation capacity through specialized training and the provision of a state-of-the-art mobile forensic van;
- The LNP Professional Standards Division (PSD) has been established to investigate complaints of police misconduct, including civilian complaints and to provide inspection services within the LNP;
- The Transnational Crime Unit has been established as part of the West African Coast Initiative (WACI) involving a multi UN agency partnership with Interpol and DEA.
The National Police Training Academy:
- Some 5,224 police officers have been vetted, trained and graduated from the National Police Training Academy (NPTA);
- The NPTA has been accredited by the Ministry of Education;
- Training conducted includes basic recruit training, in-service training and specialized courses;
- Instructors at the NPTA have gone through development programs and are now leading training design and delivery;
- The capacity of the NPTA has been increased to accommodate and cater for 900 recruits a year;
- The new constructions include one all-female barrack;
- A Regional Training Centre has been created in Harper, Maryland County, located in the remote southeast of Liberia to deliver in-service and specialized training.
Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN)
BIN was created in 1955 via legislation that tasked BIN with enforcing the Aliens and National Law. BIN is comprised of 2,081 immigration officers, including officers deployed at 48 official border crossings points. To increase the number of officers to 3000, the BIN developed a Manpower Strategic Development Plan through which some 1000 Liberian men and women qualified to join the BIN of which 234 have already successfully graduated from basic recruit training.
The BIN mandate, strongly supported by UNPOL advisors specially trained on border issues, includes:
- Enforce Alien and National Laws of Liberia;
- Assessment of travel documents and facilities;
- Admission and departure of travelers at sea, air, and land ports;
- Management of people admitted through regulation of status;
- Effective Border Management and control.