Sierra Leone: Local Policing Partnership Boards

Context

Local Policing Partnership Boards (LPPBs) were established in each police division by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in 2002-2003 and were subsequently rolled out across the country. However, over recent years many of the LPPBs failed to thrive and in some cases their legitimacy was questioned due to poor representation of the communities they served. The SLP describe the LPPBs as “… part of the community policing strategy aimed at involving non-police stakeholders in security and crime prevention.”

To support and assist the police, the LPPBs draw on the participation of a range of locally based community service organisations, representatives of local business associations and, in some areas, representatives of traditional authorities.

Entry Point

The DFID funded Access to Security & Justice Programme (ASJP), works in support of a wide-ranging number of Government of Sierra Leone institutions, non-governmental organisations and community groups. Since its inception in 2011, ASJP acknowledged the importance of the LPPBs and has supported their further development. It’s first task was to more closely connect the LPPBs to other community groups involved with local security and justice provision, and to ensure better representivity, particularly of women, on the boards. Closer linkages were also developed with District Community Networks, many of whose activities were explicitly focused on juvenile justice, women’s rights, gender-based violence and child protection.

Lessons Identified

The LPPBs play an important role in a number of complimentary activities. They work closely with the SLP and local communities, whom they represent, to ensure more effective, appropriate and accountable delivery of policing services. They are also able to articulate local demand for specific security and justice services, whilst acting as a legitimate sounding board of local SLP performance. They also link into the national framework of discussions and consultation surrounding future legislation or guidance for the security and justice sector. Most importantly, their activities directly lead to improved relationships, understanding and trust between communities and local police.

Impact

ASJP support to the revival of the Local Police Partnership Boards and the work in publishing the LPPB guidelines booklet is acknowledged to have made a positive contribution to improved levels of community safety and security. Selected LPPBs are now able to develop preventive strategies and victim support initiatives in which the SLP and the various locally involved NGOs work together.  This has both improved individual levels of safety and security and perhaps as importantly, improved community safety and security perceptions. The local ownership, direction and empowerment of the LPPBs structures has been a vital ingredient of their success to date.

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