Sheka Mansaray talks about the strides that Sierra Leone's police service has made since the brutal civil war which ended in 2002. He details the chaotic security situation when he took over as national security adviser in 1998, and he talks about the decision to recruit a foreigner to be the inspector general of the reorganized police force. This decision was based on the importance he assigned to having a neutral person in the role, in order to help rebuild public respect, to assist in depoliticizing the service and to provide expertise and knowledge. Mansaray also talks about redefining intelligence roles within the police and military in order to reduce duplication of effort. He talks about the importance of extensive and effective training for police because of the agency's close engagement with the public and the increasing sophistication of criminals. He believes training in upper-level management skills has been very successful and advocates a stronger focus on training lower-ranking police who walk beats. Mansaray emphasizes that despite the continued challenges, the Sierra Leonean police have made progress in transforming a politicized force allied with “dysfunctional elements in society” into a more effective and accountable service.
Case Study: Building Strategic Capacity in the Police: Sierra Leone, 1998-2008
Sheka Mansaray started his career in Sierra Leone as a foreign service officer. He held the positions of first secretary in the U.K., and head of chancellery at the Sierra Leone mission to the United Nations. In 1998, he returned to Sierra Leone and became national security adviser and special adviser to the president. In 2000, he went to Princeton University and earned a master's degree in public policy, after which he returned to Sierra Leone as the head of civil service/chief of staff. He remained in that position until his retirement in January 2008.