By Talibeh Hydara
The Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force has ordered the immediate suspension of all unofficial checkpoints across the regions in the country.
In a memo seen by The Standard, the IGP informed all the Regional Police Commissioners of the suspension until further notice.
“In light of the above, all RPCs and unit heads are urged to adhere to this directive for better and efficient service delivery,” the memo said.
The memo, which was leaked a few hours before the police released an elaborate statement, did not give any reason.
One of the three demands of the Gambia Transport Union during the nationwide sit-down strike was a reduction of police checkpoints.
It is not however clear if the two are related.
Meanwhile, the police last evening issued a press release which explained the suspension and the difference between official and unofficial checkpoints.
The statement reads, thus:
“The Office of the Inspector General of Police has today notified all Regional Police Commissioners that all unofficial checkpoints should be suspended with immediate effect.
The decision to suspend all unofficial checkpoints is to facilitate easy movement of commuters and address other inconveniences that it has come with. This is a policy decision that is at the heart of the newly adopted policy doctrine of The Gambia Police force.
For clarification purposes, there exist official and unofficial checkpoints. While the official ones are state-authorized checkpoints, the unofficial ones are temporarily stationed at accident-prone locations to address urgent security needs and other traffic-related offences.
Meanwhile, contrary to the memo shared on social media, the cardinal points that distinguish official and unofficial checkpoints are not adequately outlined. Expectedly, this attracts public reactions, stating the recent spate of crime in the country. As an urgent substitute to proactively subsidize crimes, police operations departments are embarking on patrols around earmarked crime zones and sensitization tours across the country.
The Office of the Inspector General of Police wishes to assure the General Public that it is highly concerned about the security of the country. This alternative security measure is in the interest of the public. The general public is therefore urged to exercise calm and restraint during this process of reformation and rebranding of the police force.”