South Yorkshire Police train cops in Sierra Leone

Chief Supt Shaun Morley and PC Richard Wilshaw delivered training to officers in Sierra Leone
Chief Supt Shaun Morley and PC Richard Wilshaw delivered training to officers in Sierra Leone

South Yorkshire police officers spent two weeks training cops in Sierra Leone on how to deal with major outbreaks of disorder.

South Yorkshire Police was chosen to deliver the training ahead of a general election in the West African country, where there was an 11-year civil war between 1991 and 2002 and which left 50,000 dead.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Chief Superintendent Shaun Morley and Constable Richard Wilshaw spent two weeks training 13 police commanders and five military personnel on how to create a tactical plan and lead in public order situations, should they arise during the election.

Chief Supt Morley, said: “They are used to using quite extreme measures and the country on a whole is very deprived, having lived through an 11-year civil war and outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus. Needless to say, it was quite a challenge in understanding the demands they continue to face.

“Through developing a thorough understanding of their culture and of their police service, we were able to adapt the training programme for their needs.”

He added: "Going there and delivering something that we know could make a real difference to police and society, both short and long term, was really rewarding.

“You get a real sense of satisfaction in knowing that you could make a big difference in terms of policing over there.”

Constable Wilshaw added: “To be exposed to a culture that’s so different to ours, and one of the poorest in the world, seeing people trying to survive but always with a smile on their faces is absolutely surreal.”

"During the debrief led by one of their own senior commanders everyone fed back one thing they’d taken away from the training.

“It was clear to see that had picked up everything and knowing that they had taken it on-board and were going to implement the learning into their own practices meant so much to me.

"We honestly came away from it re-evaluating ourselves and how you think about the world. You realise you have nothing to moan about when you see what they are faced with day in day out."

South Yorkshire Police was chosen by the College of Policing to carry out the training as a licensed public order training provider.

The training was funded by the US Department of State.