Deputy Inspector-General of Police
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Date of Interview:
Monday, May 5, 2008
Oliver Somasa gives an account of the police reforms in Sierra Leone. The main priorities during the reform process were boosting the police’s crowd-control capacity; strengthening their ability to fight organized crime, drug-trafficking and money laundering; and developing airport and border authority to maximize tax revenues. Somasa talks about police vetting, recruitment, rank restructuring due to lack of distinct functions across positions, and training. He highlights the role of capacity building in professionalizing the police. International donors and organizations like the United Nations participated in providing the necessary working tools for the reforms. Somasa describes the challenges raised by such outside organizations, including administrative bottlenecks and the shuffling of advisers that affected the continuity of operations. Somasa also explains the establishment of Family Support Units, which increased the reporting of domestic crimes as people gained more confidence in the police. In addition, he describes the department in charge of complaints, discipline, and internal investigation, which enabled the public to report complaints and to seek redress. For the analysis of the implemented reforms, Somasa highlights the importance of the monitoring and evaluation department, the change-management board, and public-perception surveys that were conducted by independent bodies.
Audio file not available.
At the time of this interview, Oliver Somasa was the deputy inspector-general of police in Sierra Leone. He joined the Sierra Leone Police in 1987 as an officer cadet. He later underwent training in drug-enforcement analysis in Vienna and on returning, he became the head of the anti-narcotics squad in the Criminal Investigation Department.
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