SLP Media & Communications Unit
Following on the visit by His Excellency the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, the Inspector General of Police, Francis A Munu has indicated that his force is being prepared and put in a state of readiness necessary for an elevation of the fight against Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. To this end, the Inspector General is now considering the elevation of the state of readiness of the force to include emergency provisions if that becomes the position taken by His Excellency the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. “If a state of emergency is declared today, the Sierra Leone Police must be in a position to undertake its duties assigned to it under law and to support the President in meeting the objectives of such a declaration,” IG Munu said. Meanwhile, Police in front line areas are being prepared for the eventuality and it is certain that all leave for such personnel would be cancelled in the interim.
Movement of Police personnel would henceforth be subject to stricter directives from Police Headquarters and the mobility of front line police officers also put under stricter supervision to contain the disease. It will be recalled that His Excellency the President singled out the Sierra Leone Police to support the fight against the virus by enforcing the Public Health Order Act and all other provisions and guidelines considered requisite and necessary for the containment of the disease. This mandate by the President sustained Police powers to effect arrest and detention of those who disobey health guidelines and in other ways tamper with containment measures of suspected patients including the forcible removal of suspected or confirmed cases of the virus from health facilities.
The continuing disregard for the law in that respect is causing increased tensions and alarm within some parts of the country and has required police intervention in quelling potential violence and civil disobedience. The Inspector General is now working frantically with senior personnel of the Police Executive Management Board, the Police Commission and the Ministry of Health to secure its mandate and to strengthen its authority with respect to supporting the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in fighting this deadly scourge acing the country.
In a separate development, Inspector General Francis A. Munu has accepted delivery of hand sanitizers Chlorine and other preventive materials for police personnel, especially for front line officers in the fight against the Ebola Virus. In turn, the IG of Police immediately sanctioned an order that chlorinated water and equipment should be made available at all police stations in the country for visitors to the force to wash and sanitize their hands on attending police stations. It is significant to note that the Police would have to deal with all sorts and conditions of men and therefore must be always prepared to defend themselves from unwitting attacks or otherwise engagement with someone who is a carrier of the virus without harmful intention. The Inspector General’s swift move to engage the wider police force in such preventative measures has been acclaimed as an act of responsiveness and concern for the welfare of the force’s rank and file. Police Stations are now on heightened alert across the country as the senior officers explore ways of increasing the responsiveness of police personnel to this grave threat.