Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepgaelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
Analysis 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 13:01 GMT
British clean-up for Sierra Leone police


By West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle

The British commander of the Sierra Leone police force has announced an anti-corruption drive aimed at restoring the reputation of the force after years of malpractice.

Sierra Leone
Police Inspector-General Keith Biddle, a senior British policeman who was recently appointed by President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah to head the Sierra Leone force, told the BBC that corrupt police officers would face the full weight of the law.

The appointment of a police boss from the former colonial power, Britain, illustrates the difficulty of tackling corruption in a country that is attempting to emerge from a decade-long war and where dishonest leaders have controlled affairs since independence.

Sierra Leone is a chronically corrupt country trying to emerge from a war which has exacerbated the tendency of most of the political class to steal the nation's diamond wealth and other resources.

Police dishonesty here goes from top to bottom. It includes senior officers illegally renting armed police for cash payments and goes right down to traffic cops harassing motorists for petty bribes.

Wage increases

Mr Biddle said several policemen were already being prosecuted for corruption.

He said police wages have been increased substantially to lift junior officers from poverty and so discourage them from stealing.

Mr Biddle said he was aware that his appointment as a British police officer could be criticised as a neo-colonial anachronism. But he said he had support from honest police officers and the bulk of ordinary Sierra Leoneans.

Corruption here in all government departments has reached such depths that many Sierra Leoneans feel they were better off under colonial rule.

The war from which the country is tentatively emerging, has exacerbated the corruption and mayhem. It is sad but true that most Sierra Leoneans would rather be led by foreigners than by their own failed political class.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

See also:
22 Nov 99 |  Africa
Sierra Leone rebels form political party
28 May 99 |  Africa
Sierra Leone ceasefire 'holding'
27 May 99 |  Africa
Sierra Leone rebels 'on the move'
26 May 99 |  Africa
Who's who at the Lome talks
24 May 99 |  Africa
Sierra Leone ceasefire broken
24 May 99 |  Africa
Analysis: Battle to rebuild shattered Sierra Leone
11 Jan 99 |  Sierra Leone
A country torn by conflict
13 Feb 99 |  Africa
Grim facts of Sierra Leone's war

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories