By Omar Bah
UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, has accused the government of neglecting the Gambia Police Force by failing to give them the resources to do their job effectively.
Addressing a news conference yesterday on the rise of crimes in the country, Darboe said: “The police service has been neglected and because of that they do not have the motivation to do the work in the way they should do it. There has been an embargo on the recruitment of security personnel including the police while we have officers retiring and have not been replaced. So the numbers are dwindling and this has affected the operation of the police.
“The government should take the necessary measures to ensure that The Gambia Police Force is properly resourced; they cannot just depend on gifts from philanthropists to make their movement easy. In virtually all the stations, they don’t even have a motorbike that will facilitate their movement to places where their services are needed.
“All these police stations in the country do not have the required vehicular opportunity to move about as they should. You go to Fatoto or Sare Ngai you have a rickety vehicle there and these are the places where criminals have the opportunity to enter the country. Yet these stations are unequipped, and even proper communication facilities are not available to them. They have to depend on their cellphones and the government doesn’t provide them units while permanent secretaries are provided free telephone calls,” he said.
The former vice president said there has never been a time in the history of The Gambia when so many heinous crimes of murder and rape have been committed. This, he added, has direct bearing on the security of the state and the people.
“This is a state of affairs that cannot be allowed to continue because we have agencies that are designated to handle the situation to ensure that the rate of crime is curbed in the country,” he said.
He said a UDP government will ensure that the police and all other security outfits in the country are well-motivated “not only in terms of remuneration but also in terms of facilities that will make them operate efficiently and effectively in a manner that is expected of them”.
“We will make sure each security officer has three uniforms and their conditions of work will be improved. We will encourage our partners who intend to provide training for our securities to send in trainers to provide training for our security officers. The UDP will address the issues of unemployment which I believe is the root cause of the escalation of crime. Some of these unnecessary expenditures the government gets involved in have to be curbed and those funds diverted towards getting our young people employed,” he said.
Mr Darboe condemned all forms of mob justice in the country saying “it is un-Gambian”.
“Mob justice that we have seen recently on the social media platforms is very worrying. Criminals have a right to their safety just as you and I have a right to our personal safety. Let us arrest them but we hand them over to the police. Let us not subject them to cruel and inhumane treatment. It’s not Gambian,” Darboe chastised.