Says police need protection to effectively fight crime
By Omar Bah
Senior lawyer Lamin S Camara has urged government to come up with laws that would empower the police to use ‘reasonable’ lethal force to defend themselves in dealing with violent criminals.
Addressing a stakeholder meeting on Saturday, called by Future in Our Hands (FIOH) to discuss the rising crime rate and rampant drug abuses in Kololi and Kotu, Lawyer Camara said at some point, the police should be able to use lethal force, if necessary, in self-defense.
“Just tell me, there is not a single country where the police cannot use lethal force. If the police are afraid of their own lives, can they protect me? If you are dealing with someone who is armed and drunk, ready for aggression, what do you do? You back off to save your life. So, at some point there has to be laws to draw the line for the police to be able to defend themselves and be able to use lethal force, if necessary,” he argued.
By the same token, Lawyer Camara criticised government’s handling of legal cases against police officers.
“In almost every legal case against the police, the officer is either demoted or dismissed. Gorgui Mboob is sitting at home just because of a case that he was allegedly involved in when he was a very young police officer. I was among the lawyers in that case. I told the minister at the time that it was wrong and that they should allow the police to do their job,” LS Camara added.
Recounting his personal experience of crime in his locality, Kotu, Camara said recently, he almost fired on someone who was attempting to rape a girl at 4am. ”But to be honest this issue is beyond us. I will suggest that we call another meeting and invite the relevant stakeholders such as the NEA, NDMA, police, DLEAG and the Kanifing Municipal Council,” he said.
“Also, we have to be brutally frank with each other – there are quite a lot of problems in our society not least among them is our education system. People who are above fifty years would agree that in the past our education system was good but now it has broken down. We can hardly find good schools in this country now. Yes, there are exceptions but our education systems have broken down. What we produce are half-baked students. Grade 9 exams are poor with huge failures and there are no consequences. Whose responsibility is that? Government of course- but did anybody pays the price?, No one, and it is business as usual in this country,” Camara lamented.
He added that such a system can only produce dropouts and with no tertiary institutions to train them with skills to take care of themselves, what should be done? ”I am sorry to say this but they would be easily enticed or lured to engage in drugs and alcohol because they need to survive. I am sorry this is not a justification for breaking the law but we have to find a solution for them. We need to find facilities to enable them be skillful. We say the country doesn’t have money. No. It has to start somewhere because this country has money. Let us curb the corruption and put that money into the welfare of the youths so that we can go to sleep. You think any youth wants to come here and sleep all night and drink and go home. Nobody wants to do that so we need to address these issues,” he added.
Read more on the meeting that was attended by representatives from the community, police, immigration and anti-crime, next edition.