July 18, 2024

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The Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Combating Crime in Sierra Leone


I.C.Ts is very important in the world in general and developing countries to be specific. I.C.Ts have created significant impact in many areas when it comes to national development. When we take a look at the economy of the country, education, religion, Social Science and Technology we can see that I.C.Ts have contributed a lot in improving these areas. You might tend to wonder how but as you read along you will understand and see the importance of I.C.Ts in developing countries (Johnson, 2008).

I.C.Ts refer to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. It is similar to information technology (I.T), but focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums (Marke, 2003).

I.C.Ts are concerned mainly with information management that is, acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics based communication of computer and telecommunication as its main fields (Julliet, 2001).

The Role of ICTs in Organisations

If any organization like the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Sierra Leone is to grow and develop then there must be effective and efficient communication in the organisation. Information whether it is pictorial, textual, written or vocal form through which an information is communication from top to bottom or the reviser for the effective running of the organization the use of I. C. T. is very important because it makes it very easy through the use of cell phone, computers and other devices that we use to communicate information is due to the fact that we have what we call I. C. Ts. (Johnson 2008).

• Through I. C.Ts. technology user can have easy access to information through an e-mail through by this it save the time of the staff just through by visiting his/her e-mail address he/she will know about the latest development in Criminal Investigation Department, without going to his/her or boss for information;

• I. C. Ts. have played very vital role in social media activities and the use of internet over the years and it is still making positive impact in our society today. Without I.C.Ts;

• I.C.Ts. have made it possible for a person in one country to order goods from another country, electronically from a second and pay for it electronically in a third.
I. C.Ts. Have changed the world industrial revolution forms from the mine tenth century and this change is permanent, because it creates new economic activities, new relations of production, new political forces, new job, and new outlook of life;
• I.C.Ts. have plays great role in the health sector of Criminal Investigation

Department by improving on healthcare awareness delivery and public awareness on important health issue. Through I. C. Ts. one can will be able to have access to medical information and trained specialists can reduce suffering and saves lives (Peter, 2005).

Historical background of the (C. I.D) in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Police Force is the brainchild of the British government. Its inception dates as far back as to 1808 when Freetown was declared a British Crown Colony. In the absence of a formal organized body to keep the peace, some retired British Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates were appointed by Magistrates to come to Sierra Leone to maintain law and order. Between 1863-1888 the then Police Force had metamorphosed in order to address the ugly incidents, which were rearing their heads especially during the 1881 Koya and 1888 Sherbro disturbances. These disturbances led to the development of police along the frontier. In 1889, therefore, the police was divided- military and frontier duties were taken over by the Frontier Police white Civilian duties were left with the Frontier Police subsequently became known as the Court Messenger Force, and were made responsible for the colony.

On the 27th October 1894, in the Royal Gazette of that date, the civil police in the colony were given the designation “The Sierra Leone Police Force” – (S. L.P.F) which has remained unchanged to this day. Captain V.F. Laphan was seconded from the Army to control the police force, with the rank of superintendent and Mr. Brooks, a metropolitan police officer, was appointed inspector of police. In 1909 superintendent Brooks was appointed the first commissioner of police.

No real significant strides took place in the force, until, Mr. C. H. Ward, (O.B.E.) Superintendent of Police from Nigerian, took over command of the force as Commissioner of Police form Captain P. T. Brodie, in 1943. The strength of the force was 300, including two (2) expatriates, the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner and Africans filled the rest the other ranks. The serious civil disturbances led to the quick introduction of the Riot Squad which was subsequently trained to contain further riots. Mr. Ward raised the strength to 600 and this created a welcome and overdue increase in promotion chances. For the first time Africans were promoted to the rank of Assistant superintendent of Police (A. S. P) and a fleet of vehicles comprising cars, lorries, motor cycle and bicycles was later obtained.

He started the proper training school at Port Loko in 1944, which was later transferred to the naval camp at hasting where it stands to this day. He also started local communications between police departments and eventually replace this by a police wireless communication system which today cover the whole country. Mr. Ward was succeeded by J. P. I. Forde who raised the strength to 1,000, sent the first African sub-inspector to train a Henden which continued thenceforth. He introduced the first proper FORCE STANDING ORDERS (F. S. O.) the police FEDERATION and POLICE COUNICIL. In 1952 Mr. W. G. Syer took over and wasted no time in taking policing to the provinces which resulted in its expansion. He affiliated the police force to International Police Organization (INTERPOL) and disbanded the Riot Squad, there by introducing a system in which every police officer was taught not duties no matter what section of the force he may be attached to.

Between 1963-1969 Mr. L. W. Leigh became the first Sierra Leonean Commissioner of Police and under his leadership a police Act was established in 1964 which was meant to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the Sierra Leone police force that is, the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension of offenders between 1969-1972, Mr. Jenkins M.E.G Smith became the second Sierra Leone commissioner of police who led the force through Republic in 1971.

The uniform at this time consisted of grey shorts and grey jacket with black shoes and cummerbund. Section 174 of the Sierra Leone Constitution of 1978 changed the traditional role of the force by the appointment of the ten Commissioners of Police, Mr. P. C. Kaetu Smith [1973- 1979] as one of the seven (7) appointed members of parliament by the Executive president, thus politicizing the role of the police force.

Between 1981- 1984, Honorable C Kaetu Smith was succeeded by Hon. J. A. Grant. In 1986, Hon. P. M. Johnson becomes the first inspector – General of police. On the 1st of January, 1987, the force was re- divisionalized into police divisions each division being represented by letters, ranging from “A” to “N” and each division commanded by a chief police officer [C. P. O]. These were further sub-divided into police Districts and placed under the command of the officer commanding districts [o/c] who may be a Deputy Superintendent of police or Assistant Superintendent of Police (A.S.P.).

In 1987 Hon. James Bambay Kamara succeeded by Mr. P.M. Johnson. In December, 1991, in a bid to redeem the good image of the Sierra Leone Police Force which had seriously dented by politics, the British Government sent Mr. Keith Lewis, a retired British Superintendent of Police to restructure the force. A series of police courses were then introduced into the curriculum in order to enhance the force in policing a modern democratic society training courses like the Junior and Senior Management Courses Trainers course, criminal investigation Department course known as the Yorkshire Course was introduced which went a long way to restructure the police.

The democratically elected Government of Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba in 1996 solicited the services of the British Government to help further restructure the Sierra Leone Police Force. The British Government responded by sending a team known as the Commonwealth Police Development Task Force. which was headed by the Inspector-General of police, Mr. Kieth Biddle.Under the dynamic leadership of the British born Inspector- General of police, the Sierra Leone police force is gradually regained the confidence of the public through the change management under the new restructured program, so that the force can become “Force For Good’ which is its known for today. (Sierra Leone Police Prospectus 2014).

Activities of Criminal Investigation Department (CID)

The following are the activities untaken by CID of the Sierra Leone Police:


Crimes scene investigators are charged with the responsibility of formally documenting the crime scene. This documentation is usually permanent and constitutes the official record of the investigation. It can be forwarded to officers and law enforcement agencies for further use and investigation. Documentation includes photograph, diagrams and sketches, and written notes. At this point, the crimes scene investigation usually make some sort of initial interpretation of the evidence at hand and document the actions taken by the investigators at the actions taken by the investigators at the scene Effective documentation allows for an accurate re-party, such as a forensics team.

Legal Duties

The investigator must carry out a number of legal duties in relation to previous work. Based on their investigation, crime scene investigators help lawyers and other legal officials prepare criminal proceedings. They normally meet to explain their official reports and the evidence, making sure it’s understood. Investigators also are called on to testify in court, where they are the foremost authority on what was found on the scene and what conclusions were drawn.

They must be able to explain what the evidence means and why certain conclusions seem compelling based on investigation. Crime scene investigators must also be familiar with National and state laws and with relevant case law to put the evidence in perspective.

Evidence Collection

Once the scene has been secured, surveyed and documented, the crime scene investigator leads an effort to collect relevant evidence. This process can be slow and requires a great deal of patience, as well as the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with others. An ability to properly and delicately deploy equipment is paramount here. Evidence, such as articles of clothing hair, nail clippings and fiber samples, must be collected in such a manner that its integrity is preserved. Labeled and sealed pouches maintain the integrity of the evidence as well as the chain of custody. The investigator also is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the crime scene by roping off the area, keeping witnesses from tampering with evidence and making spots where evidence was collected.


The initial search, also called scene recognition, is the first walkthrough that or crime scene investigator takes. Upon the first examination, the crime scene investigator develops a strategy to approach the scene and apprehend evidence. This can include factors such as what directing to go in, prioritizing evidence that might disappear or be harmed; and determining what equipment and resources are necessary to effectively take stock of the situation. The crime scene investigator can assemble and lead the team to investigate the scene and collect evidence. Murder scenes, for example, may require investigators to collect blood and tissue samples, fingerprint, shoe casings. A robbery may require fingerprints, from points of entry and other surfaces the burglar may have touched.

Examples of ICTs used by the C I D

In modern times, policing has been done with the use of technological items to enable them carryout their activities with the ease and for effective and efficient service delivery. ICTs. refer to technologies that provide access to information, through telecommunication which is similar to information technology (I T), but here focus is primarily on communication technologies. This includes the internet, wireless networks, cell phones and other communication media The following information communication technologies are used by the CID of the Sierra Leone police

• Closed-Circuit television (CCTV): to monitor events/ happenings within their areas of responsibilities and to be used as pictorial/ visual evidence in court and for records purposes.

• Digital Cameras: these are used to take snap shots of enable effective and efficient investigations with real evidence to be tendered in court as evidence.

• Drivers: these are used to save/keep useful information about an investigation such as progress reports, abstract reports, summary of evidence, and proceedings/rulings about a matter.

• Photo Copiers: they are primarily used to duplicate reports and other documents to be distributed to various authorities concerned for their personal directives and necessary action.

• Scanners: these are most common now as a result of terrorist threats and can be used for humans, cars and for baggage’s in order to detect / prevent crime and the fear of crime and to restore confidence in the populace. It can be used to detect any offensive objects/ weapons and to prevent any mishap.

• Computers: are now commonly used to investigate criminal worldwide. With the help of computers, the Interpol can track criminals from every continent and the various police headquarters can liaise with each other to get the desired outcome. Also, could computing has been so much influential investigations in order to locate the where about of criminals and to track their acts/actions and accomplices.

Problems associated with the use of ICTs and information delivery of the CID in the Sierra Leone Police.

• Power Challenges: Lack of consistent and affordable electricity is the greatest challenge in designing a computing infrastructure for criminal information (or any other application that matter). The vast majority of criminal investigation facilities in the criminal investigation department have no main power and, where available, such power is usually extremely unreliable or so unstable that it poses a threat to unprotected electronic equipment.

• Environmental Challenges: The physical environment in Sierra Leone and in most other areas in the country is characterized by some combination of heat, dust and humidity, each of which is a problem for standard computers. High speed Central Processing Units generate enormous amounts of heat that, if not properly dissipated, reduces performance or can render these systems in operable. Dust threatens sensitive electronics by shorting circuits and impeding airflow and heat dissipation. Humidity leads to condensation corrosion and even mold, all of which can cause electrical problems and possibly shorten equipment lifespan.

• Connectivity Challenges: Lack of affordable connectivity and bandwidth in the primary obstacle to several of the most promising criminal investigation applications in the CID, including training initiatives and other real- time support Lack of connectivity also complicates more basic efforts to collect and analyse criminal information.


It is increasingly clear that information is the life blood of the CID system. Accurate, timely and accessible crime information strengthens literally every part of the system, from policy making, to logistic and training. In contrast, inefficient crime information systems suffer from an information anemia that weakens the system.

Sadly, all too many crime systems in the developing world still suffer from the equivalent information shock, a system threaten condition characterized by the inability to generate access or act on even the most essential crime information. Success or failure of ICTs deployment in Criminal Investigation Department depends on access to affordable, integrated solutions that are both sustainable in low resource setting and adaptable to local condition invented is actively developing and deploying such system specially to address this need. It is therefore quite necessary to note that ICTs play a critical and crucial role in enhancing the successful provision, management and delivery of information in combating crimes.