By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 6 January:
A Supreme Police Council has been set up by the government. Part of the . . .[restrict]Ministry of the Interior, the body will consist of 10 high-ranking police officers from all over Libya who will report direct to the minister. Their role is to oversee the police force throughout the country.
“It will supervise its operational methods and identify its needs in order to enhance its performance levels and in order to be able to carry out its assigned duties”, said Interior Ministry spokesman Magdi Al-Arafi . It would also advise the Interior Minister in general policy-making in regard to the police ”. For example, the spokesman said, it would “include making plans for the development of training institutes”.
The creation of the council by the cabinet — its first decision of the year — is part of a restructuring of the Interior Ministry. It is in the process of absorbing into the police large numbers of members of the Supreme Secuirty Committee (SSC) itself set up to absorb former revolutionary brigades and integrate then into civil society. It is in the process of being disbanded.
While paying tribute last Thursday to the work done by the SSC in providing national security since its formation in October 2011, Interior Minister Ashour Shuwail noted that more than 5,000 SSC members had signed up to join the police during the previous ten days.
Figures show, however, that most of these are in the east of the country, with the largest single group from Beida, Shuwail’s home town.
Earlier, the Ministry had announced today that it was increasing the number of registration centres for members of the SSC looking to join the police from 25 to 37.
Shuwail’s comments followed widespread condemnation by political figures of the demonstration on New Years’ Day by a group of SSC members at the Congress building in which some Congress members were reportedly assaulted.
The protesters were opposed to the dissolution of the SSC as well as the fact that they had not been paid for some time. However, the Interior Ministry has said that it would continue to pay wages to SSC members who had applied to join the police.
As a result, the winding up of the SSC is being seen as the real reason for the demonstration. It is being claimed that those who took part had been manipulated by a handful of more senior individuals who see themselves unable to exert any power and influence in the more organised structures of the police force.
On Thursday, Shuwail said that strict measures would be taken against any armed groups that refused to be integrated into state institutions. [/restrict]