By Alagie Manneh
The government of The Gambia has accepted a recommendation to train members of the Police Intervention Unit on crowd control and use of force.
The PIU has long gained notoriety for its heavy-handedness at riots and protests.
The TRRC, which detailed some of these excesses, said an effective training manual on crowd control and the use of force during riots and protests should be developed for the police.
Responding in its White Paper, the government said it “accepts the recommendations of the Commission and will ensure training programmes are developed to train security personnel on crowd control and use of force during public assemblies”.
The TRRC stressed the importance of developing a training manual for police, “specifically [for the PIU]”.
Highlighting cases of disregard for the rule of law, the TRRC stated: “The PIU and the NIA are responsible for the arbitrary arrests, detention, physical assaults, torture and inhumane and degrading treatment of the UDP supporters arrested in April and May 2016. The PIU brutally dispersed the protesters throwing tear gas into the crowd without warning. The protesters were arrested, manhandled with some of the women sexually assaulted.”
It also recommended a comprehensive review of the Public Order Act by the National Assembly with a view to amending it to be in line with international human rights instruments and customary standards.
“The Government accepts the recommendation of the Commission and will initiate a review of the Public Order Act. The Government will strengthen to the Law Reform Commission to enable a rolling review of all legislation to ensure conformity with best practice,” the White Paper said.