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Promotion Wahala…Sierra Leone Police Graduates cry foul
By Theophilius S. Gbenda
Aug 31, 2005, 08:50
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For what many have referred to as blatant marginalization within the rank and file of the Sierra Leone Police(SLP), a number of graduate police constables, some of whom have served the force for over twelve years now without being promotion, have registered their utmost dissatisfaction and frustration over their plight.

Investigations into the matter have so far revealed that the deprived police constables in question were earlier granted study leaves to pursue higher education, on entering the force.

On the completion of their courses, reports state that they duely presented their credentials to the appropriate authorities at the police headquarters for onward update of their personal files.

As the new police policy requires that all police officers should pass a promotional examination before promotions are effected, the graduate constables in question sat to the last promotional examination and came out with flying colors, sources revealed.
They were even, according to reports, called for interview but were not considered for promotion at the end of the day.

Not knowing what was responsible for this neglect, the embittered constables, reports say, managed to access their personal files at the Human Resources Department at the Police Headquarters, only to discover to their utmost dismay that their personal files had not been updated with the credentials they had long presented to the appropriate authorities concerned. Owing to this anomaly, three of the affected constables namely: James Tarawalie alais Okekeh, Musa Sankoh and Kadiatu Kamara, went ahead and tendered their resignations, complaining that they cannot continue to be in the force with such blatant display of marginalization against them. According to reports, the three were later summoned to a meeting at the Police Headquarters, and after explaining the reasons for their resignations, were subsequently promoted to the ranks of Sergeants. This controversial promotion, according to in-house sources, sparked up further dissentions amongst the remaining aggrieved constables who otherwise thought they too could have been equally promoted if they too had resorted to a similar action.
Realizing that the dissention was taking another level, the authorities swiftly released an internal memo about a fortnight ago, ordering all graduate constables to forward their credentials to the Office of the Human Resources Officer for filing.

Although the aggrieved constables have since forwarded their credentials(for the second time now), there are claims of foul play as sources indicate the possibility of  some other people benefiting from the missing credentials with the knowledge of certain officials in authority, cannot be over-emphasized.
In an interview with the Head of the Human Resource Department, Superintendent Usman Kamara, he confirmed that some members within the force may be concerned over the slow and what may seem to them as selective promotions, but said there is always a way to address such concerns.

He explained that the main thrust of the internal memo on qualifications was for personnel to forward their credentials to his office, as part of the ongoing efforts to update the force’s data base for the purposes of planning and personnel development.
He noted that before now, certain graduates and HTC holders entering the force were afraid to present their relevant credentials for fear of being blacklisted for promotion and other forms of victimizations, because of their enviable qualifications. This trend, he stressed, has changed tremendously as the policy of the current police management is to attract more graduates into the force, and not to discourage them. He explained further that graduates entering the force with their credentials and those acquiring their credentials whilst in the force stand a better chance of being promoted, as long as they are able to satisfy the terms of the promotional examinations. All along, Superintendent Usman Kamara pointed out that his office had been updating the force’s data base manually, but that with the introduction of the computer data base processing, some of the queries related to the imperfection of the manual system would be accordingly addressed.

Superintendent Usman Kamara however assured that in terms of professional standards, the Sierra Leone Police is listed amongst the best police forces in the world.

While reiterating that their may be some flaws in the current system, he pointed out however that aggrieved persons could forward their complaints to the Equal Opportunity Unit at the Police Headquarters for redress.
He noted that he is not in change of promotions.
For his own part, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Richard Morigbeh, such concerns are not only senonimous to the police.He pointed out that measures are currently being put in place to ensure that the system is made appreciable to all.

Meanwhile, indept investigations carried out by this press have indicated that problems still remain with the current SLP personnel data base system. Some even say that the police personnel data base is nothing to right home about, as it is riddled in dubiousity.
Even the SLP Establishment Strength Summary according to sources, is yet to be updated and there are indications that some unscrupulous officials within the Human Resources Department are playing games with the personal files of certain personnels, inorder to keep them at bay from growing within the force.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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