No to police brutality!

Mar 15, 2022, 11:02 AM

The never-ending brutality by police in the country against unarmed civilians each time there is a protest or incident is becoming too much. Police are not only a guardian of the law, but are also expected, as a duty bearer, to respect and protect the rights of all people, including those who are even suspected of breaking the law.

In our yesterday’s edition, we ran a story in which the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a strongly-worded statement described it as ‘unacceptable the police brutality against unarmed civilian in Brikama recently.

In the trending video making rounds on social media, personnel of Police Intervention Unit (PIU) were seen beating, kicking and brutalising supporters of the opposition UDP parliamentary candidate for Busumbala, Momodou Sabally shortly after his nomination was rejected by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The video attracted widespread condemnation by both Gambians and non Gambians alike.

Earlier this year, we saw similar police brutality in a viral video against civilians, who gathered at the residence of veteran opposition leader, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe a few days after the announcement of the final result of the presidential election.

Before that we’ve seen it in the ‘Three Years Jotna’ protest.

These kinds of videos are indeed shocking and being perpetrated by people, who are supposed to protect the civil populace.

We really need more advocacy and more sensitisation for our men in uniform to be able to act professionally in incidents like last Thursday’s incidents.

Again, in any thriving democracy come protests and other forms of association where people use to avenge their anger. But that is where they should manifest their skills and crowd control tactics to disperse people in a peaceful manner.

The recent spate of police brutality in the country is indeed alarming. It is high time the Police high command do something about it and even punish those found wanting.

Police are mostly the first port of call when an incident occurs in a community. Therefore, they happen to be the most visible representatives of the government. Thus the role cannot be overemphasised in strengthening security and ensuring that the civil populace is secure and protected.

However, when police who are supposed to be not only a guardian of the law, but also duty bearers, are found wanting in their job leaves much to be desired.

As police officers they should always behave with the members of the public with due courtesy and decorum, particularly  in dealing with critical matters.

Besides, they should also ensure that in all situations, especially during conflict between communities, classes, castes and political groups, the conduct of the police is always governed by the principles of impartiality and human rights norms, with special attention to protection of the public.

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