Progress in small steps: security against the odds in Liberia

Research reports and studies
January 2015
Karen Barnes Robinson and Craig Valters, with Tove Strauss and Aaron Weah
Since the end of several years of armed conflict and extreme insecurity in 2003, Liberia has experienced an end to large-scale organised violence, and seen improvements in the experiences and perceptions of a wide range of other forms of violence. Perceptions of the police generally appear to have improved, and the Liberian population increasingly sees police officers as a source of protection rather than insecurity, despite some ongoing allegations of excessive force and corruption.

This case study analyses the extent of progress in achieving security in Liberia, focusing specifically on changes in personal safety. Five key factors are identified as having played a central role in driving the changes witnessed in Liberia: the coexistence of a plurality of actors providing security at the local level; the role of the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia; a relatively stable political settlement; security sector reform; and considerable donor funding and technical support.