Speaking before the Human Rights and Constitutional Matters committee of the National Assembly on Human Rights Compliance on Wednesday, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Abdoulie Sanyang revealed that to follow professional standards, GPF has set-up a unit to monitor activities of officers.
“In our quest for compliance of Human Rights for the Gambia Police Force and also being the only or second institution that has a Human Rights Unit, the GPF combined the Human Rights Unit and the Professional Standards to reflect, receive and handle complaints against police in their official capacities.”
According to him, the GPF management knows officers may go out on the streets and do things that may be right or wrong and for those reasons, the Human Rights Unit and the Professional Standards was created to monitor them.
He added that the current management of the Gambia Police Force is very much concerned about Human Rights as well as the Professional standards of GPF personnel.
However, he reiterated that the role and responsibility of the Human Rights Unit is to ensure that swift action is taken (regardless of the rank of officer alleged) against Human Rights of the people who come into conflict with the law so that those people could be treated as human beings and also based on standards.
“To enforce the compliance, I gave a directive about six months ago named directive No. 05/2021 to develop, reinforce and empower investigations against police officers who may be doing things that are not in line with the law. He said punitive measures include reprimand, transfer, CB, demotion, discharge, dismissal among others.
IGP Sanyang assured the Human Rights Committee that GPF would not tolerate or accept Human Rights abuses by police officers while doing their duties, and in the case that complaints are raised against them, proper investigations would be done followed by recommendations in the report for the administration to pick up from.
He revealed that GPF in partnership with GIZ is also working on a digitalised complaint mechanisms to make the unit more proactive, robust and accessible to the society.
He explained that the unit is also decentralised with monitoring officers for quick and efficient service of aggrieved persons and despite poor equipment and logistics, the unit is mostly on field patrols unannounced to spot check not only with a view to confirming compliance but also to rectify and undo excesses and wrongs by the police.
“We are trying to modernise our stations because currently they are not in compliance with international standards but most especially our detention facilities and which is why we have now designed three level stations aiming to eliminate the cells in the stations.”
He continued: “we want to have only holding rooms in the stations and rooms that will cater for juveniles, women and other vulnerable persons.”