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First batch of newly trained police recruits is deployed in Monrovia

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Without reforms sanctions will remain in place (IRIN )

A first contingent of more than 100 Liberian police trained by the United Nations was deployed on the streets of the capital Monrovia on Monday, a police spokesman said.

Colonel Ansumana Kromah, the deputy director of police operations, said the 123 recruits had completed their nine months of training on Saturday and had immediately been deployed to various locations within the capital.

Further contingents of newly trained recruits would be sent to the interior soon, he added.

Kromah told IRIN that 85 of the first batch of officers to join the new-look Liberian National Police were brand new recruits.

The remaining 38 were police officers who had served under the government of discredited former president Charles Taylor, who had been screened for human rights abuse and retrained, he added.

Kromah said the training programme at the police academy, which is presently run by UN police officers drawn from forces around the globe, included human rights education, riot control, traffic control, community policing, criminal investigation and civic responsibility.

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) aims to train and equip a new 3,500-strong police force by the end of 2006. Its immediate target is to deploy 1,800 officers throughout the country by the time presidential and parliamentary elections are held in October.

Since Liberia's 14-year civil war came to an end in 2003, security in the country has been maintained by a 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force, which includes more than 1,000 civilian police.

This has been supplemented until now by a 500-strong interim Liberian police force, comprising former police officers who were rapidly retrained.

Police chief Colonel Joseph Kerkura said the United States had agreed to supply some equipment for Liberia's new police force, but he appealed to other international donors to provide more.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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