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City of Banjul
Sunday, September 27, 2020

Police and public trust

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The announcement by the police to send Anti-Crime Unit boss Gorgi Mboob on administrative leave pending investigations into the allegations against him is in perfect order. In our understanding, an administrative leave is one with pay and other benefits.

So, Mr Mboob may not after all suffer any economic losses. Fair enough since he has not been found guilty as accused by Ebrima Sanneh. That will have to wait until the investigative panel drawn from eminent institutions completes its probe into this unfortunate event that has so passionately exercised the minds of Gambians.

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We observe also that the move by the police to investigate one of their own, coupled with the strenuous efforts by the IGP to fend off the barrage of criticism must have been embarrassing. But it was necessary for the IGP to act because the police is one national institution that cannot afford to fail the nation and its citizens.

Everywhere in the world, police are the reference point when it comes to separating good over evil and public trust is an indispensable quality that must never be neglected or down played.

Gorgi Mboob may or may not be guilty but the widespread public mistrust and suspicion of the police displayed on social media about the incident is certainly not needed by an institution which has vowed to be committed to reforming itself from being the oppressive tool of tyranny to a responsible force working to protect citizens. Even worst, the timing of the incident has almost dampened if not erased the joyful story of the prodigal daughter of the police Traffic Division Kaddy Jarju unto whom, and by extension the police force – much praises and administration were showered for gallantry and patriotism.

The lesson from the two macabre ironical incidents is that respect, confidence and trust are earned through good work. But it is easily lost with only one suspicious act and almost without effort ,one who is celebrated now can look like a villain the next moment. Policing comes with professionalism, discipline and honesty. Police are indispensable to any civilised society.

The police, like doctors are, by the nature of their job, often sidelined yet when we need their services, we want them to perform miracles. So this episode must not also be read as victory for criminals who are bent on unleashing violence on citizens. The police must always have the powers and capacity to deal with any situation, of course without resorting to excessive force.

While we commend this move to look into this affair, we call on the police to investigate other allegations against its members and take necessary action where need be. There are no other ways about it, the police must be trusted first before it can police its citizens.

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