Democratically Transformed or Business as Usual: The Sierra Leone Police and Democratic Policing in Sierra Leone

Democratic policing has emerged as a key strategy in security sector reform (SSR), especially in post-conflict settings. Sierra Leone’s post-conflict reconstruction agenda occasioned a SSR programme with an emphasis on the democratisation of the then-Sierra Leone Police Force. These reforms were aimed at transforming the once oppressive and corrupt, regime-focused institution, into a people centred and accountable force. Yet, after fifteen years of SSR, there has been little attempt to gauge the extent and nature of the impact of these reforms. In doing so, this paper draws heavily on the experiences of both state and non-state actors, while providing a reflection on what is required to further strengthen democratic policing in Sierra Leone.

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