In an unprecedented move in May of 2011, the Sierra Leone Police
submitted itself to an extensive diagnostic analysis. Looking inwards, ad asking, what do we look
like to the ordinary citizen? It was a
defining moment in the history of the force. A point at which Police leadership recognised
that they were not going to like all the results they received, but they were
going to have to work at changing – and that took a lot of courage.
The public sector in Sierra Leone is much like the public sector in
the rest of the sub region. Its
generally less efficient, offers less accountability and practices less customer
orientation than the private sector. Measurements are rare, indicators even
rarer. So what did the Inspector
General, Francis Munu, think he was going to achieve with his top team when
they approved the diagnostic study which would eventually lead to wide ranging
reforms in Human Resources Strategy and Execution within the force?
‘This has been a burning issue on my mind, since when I was the
Director in charge of Human Resources.
How do we ensure performance?’.
At the ceremony marking the end of his predecessor’s term, IG Munu said ‘…to attract investors in to the country
who can contribute to the socio economic development of the country…’ we
need an vibrant and effective police force, which can practice modern policing
systems and ensure national security promotes the health, safety and security
of the ordinary sierra Leonean.
Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t
Through the diagnostic review carried
out by Ascendant and Company (www.ascendantandcompany.com)
and funded in the main by the German International Corporation (GiZ), the SLP
discovered a few things they didn’t previously know. Their strengths are still their strengths – a
loyal and committed work force, doing a difficult job in extremely challenging
circumstances. Their weakneses are also
deep. They are not insurmountable. Relationships between the force need to be
better developed, as well as relationships with Police leadership. Budget management can be a challenge especially
when the force depends on insufficient allocations from central government. Consequently, the mastering of certain new
competencies can only happen through actual practice, which is why the
Performance Management System is emphasizing mentoring.
It is also imperative that SLP
recognises that leadership needs middle management who they can trust to
delegate important work to, including budget and facilities management.
It is what it is. All stakeholders are learning and so is the
SLP. All stakeholder must continuously
be learning. Therefore we will all always
need to improve. SLP will always show
strength in some areas, competency in others, and a need to improve in others.
For the nation’s police executive management, there is a willingness
to professionalize the police force, training troops and equipping them with
relevant skills. The government of
Sierra Leone itself has embarked on an exceptional security sector
transformation, as a result of which the military and police have enjoyed much
Public perception of the police remains poor, despite the amount of
effort being put into reforms. Therefore
one key thrist of the reforms programs is to translate the significant effort
being put into police performance improvement to improvements with
stakeholders. The ordinary citizen might
then see the difference and have a different experience with the police.
In September 2013, the Inspector General in conjunction with the
Access To Justice Program (funded by the United Kingdom AID) will relaunch its
comprehensive performance management program.
This puts the Sierra Leone Police in the forefront of Public Sector
Reform in the country as SLP provides a significant example for other
government departments to emulate.