Court security officer stand near a member of Gambia's Army force bus at the Supreme Court in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. Picture taken December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Gambia’s police chief: Do not expect ‘quick and drastic’ reforms

Gambia’s police chief said reforms are needed in law enforcement but do not foresee a ‘quick and drastic’ reform programs being implemented in the police.

Reforms within the Gambia’s army has taken priority with the country’s President Adama Barrow appointing a former military general, Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh as his National Security Advisor.

Kinteh is working with regional troops to vet soldiers, who were already disarmed and demobilized by the ECOMIG force.

‚ÄúReforms are needed. I am not seeing a drastic reformation, as we stand. As of now, all we need is human resources development,” said Police Chief Yankuba Sonko.

Sonko said the police are cooperating with the regional troops. The troops are taking the lead in securing the country, government buildings, senior government officials and the president.

Although the riot unit of the police force, called the police intervention unit has been implicated in rights violations and use of excessive force, Barrow said he would be using a special police unit for his security and that of senior officials.

Officials say the new unit, will model the U.S. Secret Service Police, which is tasked with protecting U.S. government officials and foreign dignitaries.

Gambia’s new Minister of Interior Mai Ahmad Fatty has pledged to transform the police into a world-class law enforcement department.

The Gambia Police Force is part of the Ministry of the Interior and has a force of about 5,000 uniformed and plain-clothes police officers. It’s former minister, Ousman Sonko is being held by Swiss authorities for crimes against humanity.

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