Another Officer Who thought he was Intelligent.
I read with some amusement Al-Aziz Turay's highly theoretical and deeply unrealistic piece in APC's news outlet Cocorioko about law enforcement and policing. Aziz goes on to give a textbook description of what a police officer out to be and the circumstances, real or perceived that these brave men and women face on a daily basis. As a purely theoretical construct, who can argue with Al-Aziz Turay? We have all at one time or the other seen evidence of excellent policing, very few cases in Sierra Leone, but definitely seen more of it elsewhere. Where men and women are sworn to protect others, they surely ought to be praised, if they are doing what they are supposed to do and there are definitely some Sierra Leone police officers that are real ethical heroes.
Ex Intelligence Officer Al-Aziz
However, let us not get too carried away by this developed country or textbook model of policing. The reality of policing in the areas of the world where we come from, Aziz and I, are quite different. Unless as an intelligence officer Aziz was walking around Freetown with his intelligence and eyes in his back pocket, then he must have been one of the most unintelligent intelligence officers that ever had the opportunity to wear a uniform, or he simply did not give a damn as he was just one of the corrupt bunch that made our country into a smuggler's paradise.
The funny thing about some people is that a problem only becomes real when it knocks at their own door. We all know that the only reason why Aziz us now touting the credentials of the APC police force is because as opposed to the period of Ahmed Tejan Kabba who put mechanisms in place to ensure that police officers really started paying attention to their prescribed duties, the recent spate of police killings, which some have described as "honest mistakes" has exposed the return of the Sierra Police to the vices of the past. Everybody in Sierra Leone knows that in the past police never protected the people, they protected the government. It was in the days of the said Aziz when you had to buy your own pen and paper to write a police report if you went to the police with a criminal or civil complaint, but the police were out in full force if you said anything against the government. The police force that Aziz writes about in their day is nothing worth talking about, let alone brag or write about.
Police Intelligence Sa Lone Style
If the two young men that were "mistakenly" killed were relatives of former intelligence officer Turay, I do not think that he would have been so quick to start preaching about the difficulty of policing, I bet he would have been singing a different tune. Go and tell the parents of those that were killed that they should understand, as policing is a difficult job and therefore police should be trigger happy to protect themselves. Tell them it was just an honest mistake that is now happening on a regular basis, ever since we fecided to forgo the importation of food and decided to bring in arms instead.
There are countries with formidable criminal gangs or dangerous civil agents. In these countries criminals are organized and well armed. In Sierra Leone the line between those that protect and those that need to be protected against is extremely opaque. Historically police, especially the SSD now OSD were police paramilitaries that were heavily armed and poorly paid. When a very hungry man becomes very heavily armed, the only thing he is going to be concerned with is his next meal, and good policing be damned.
If this bloke was a real intelligence officer, he must have realized that there was intelligence in keeping your theoretical opinion to yourself at certain times. We have all read ethics textbooks that tell us how to behave. How to do right things and avoid doing wrong. People go to the church on Sunday and mosque on Friday and are told that adultery and crime is evil. Does that stop us? Police academies teach all these courses about good policing and the obligation to serve the public. Just as pastors preach in the morning and become hooligans at night, so do the police tell us about being honest and go right to the checkpoint and start harassing poor drivers for bribes.
My friend Aziz, thanks for telling the world of your intelligence credentials at a very unintelligent time.