By Momodou Jarju
A person detained at a Gambia Police Station is entitled to have only one meal per day with a price of five dalasis (D5).
This is according to officials of the Gambia Police Force at Kairaba Police Station.
The officials made the remarks in the ongoing tour the Standing Committee on Defense and Security is executing, visiting security entities within the Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region (WCR). The 5-day tour started on Monday and is expected to end on Friday.
Regional Police Commissioner Kanifing Municipal Council, Kalilou Njie confirmed that prisoners still have D5 each per day as a meal.
“Five dalasis to feed a prisoner is definitely at the low side, so we would be grateful if note could be taken so that at least that D5 dalasis could be adjusted with something that can feed a human being,” he said.
Like other police stations the committee visited, Commissioner Njie said the most crimes committed within his region are shop breaking, stealing from persons, mobile phone stealing, few rape cases and robberies etc.
Part of their mechanism, he said they have a regional task force that patrols the region. They also collaborate with anti-crime unit to help them with mobility.
Commissioner Njie said he is working with 137 men including personnel of the Central Investigation Department (CID). He said his region is divided into two, namely the East Region and West Region.
He said they have 27 police stations, 14 within the West Region and 13 within the East Region and only few stations have mobility. The east region has two vehicles while the west region has five vehicles.
“That’s shows the constraints we have in terms of mobility,” he said.
Out of the 14 stations in the west region, five of them are built by the police and the rest are rented, while in the east region 3 out of 13 are built stations and the rest are rented. He said they pay the rented police stations.
“If we start building stations, it will ease the financial expenditure we spend on renting private premises for stations,” he said.
On gender balance in the police force, Commissioner Njie said it is believed women represent 30% of the work force. The entire police force has only one female as Police Commissioner. Njie said in his region, the highest female officer rank is assistant commissioner.
Station Officer (SO) Alieu B. Sowe said training is fundamental if people want the police to adopt new standards and the ongoing reform processes.
SO Sowe said their communication equipment is not efficient, saying they cannot rely on mobile phones for effective communication. He called for the reintroduction of communication gadgets.
He also said there is need for attitudinal change at all level to ensure the mission of the change of regime is actualized.
“We need to cultivate the culture of peace which is the only asset we have,” he said.
Mr. Sowe appealed for the construction of detention facilities for juveniles, which is lacking in most police stations across the country, so that they would not be exposed to experiences that would not help them.
An official of the drug law enforcement agency called for the creation a surveillance system which will help in their work as crime detectors.
Immigration officials said they always have problems when they are conducting raids because their Gambian brothers, sisters, etc. do confront them.
One of the officers, Aramata Sarjo, said they always have problem when they go out for raiding.
“But our only difficulty is our Gambian brothers and sisters, our uncles, our fathers at home. Whenever our guys go out for raiding, there is fight,” she said.
She said some Gambians would house aliens who rent in their homes and the only thing they care about is the rent payment and not their residential permits and when the immigration officers come to those houses, they are always troubled.
At the end of the day, she said the revenue collected from the raiding goes to the Government’s coffers. She said the village Alkalolu too, are not cooperating with them.
“Because we need to know the number of aliens in your areas and they were always issued with a book. But anytime we go there they would not cooperate. There is no record,” she said.
Chairperson of the committee and deputy speaker of the national assembly, Hon. Momodou L.K. Sanneh, said their mission is not a problem-solving mission, but a fact-finding one.
The tour continues today, Friday.