In the early days of the appointment of the out-going Inspector General Of Police, Mr. James Oppong Boanu, I wrote and delivered directly to him a 17 page document outlining some relevant key indicators that in my considered opinion would be relevant to make him succeed. The reasoning at the time was based on the level of decadence that has engulfed policing at the lower level. That the review, evaluation and probably continuing the changes initiated by his predecessor, Mr. David Asante-Apeatu would probably do the trick. Though I disagreed with some of the policy initiatives by Mr. Apeatu, I fell in love with his personality and his leadership styles. I am not convinced going into the details because I saw glimpses of some of my suggestions therein implemented though my introduction will not be that different. It might not have come from my document but be as it may, it is my little contribution to the growth of the service .
When it comes to the knowledge, skills, and ability to embody leadership qualities, most of our topmost police officers have the tools and resources to lead the Ghana Police Service. These topmost officers possess these requisite skills because of the continuous career development partially and probably because of the advice and feedback they receive from their subordinates past and present. Being an effective leader is a great thing, but being able to articulate why and how one becomes a strong leader adds true substance and depth.
Past Inspector Generals Of Police chose to lead the Police Service because they wanted to successfully direct the administration and operational efficiency, the mission and vision statement as efficiently as effective as possible. It clearly makes more sense to have someone who understands the goals and objectives of the Police Service to provide guidance and direction than to simply have someone without that institutional knowledge attempt same. So whether it is important to have the right person in place to lead the Police Service is not the question. The question is, instead, what does it take to be the best possible Inspector-General Of Police to lead the Ghana Police Service ? Does COP (Dr) George Akuffo Dampare have what it takes to lead the service?
Readers, in my subsequent paragraphs, will understand why I firmly believe without any doubt on my mind that he is the right man for the job. I am enjoined to owe my ‘natural’ allegiance to him because allegiance they say, “is a depth of gratitude.”
My first and personal encounter with Mr. Dampare was when I started investigations into the unfortunate shootings of C/Inspector Adolph Mutse and Lance Corporal Proper Ashinyo in Kumawu. He had then led a high-powered delegation of senior officers to my office. That was when my love for him began after observing him closely primus inter pares.
Kirk Mclean, a Lieutenant with Prince George’s County, Mary Land Police Department and an IACP fellow, lists (10) ten must-have attributes that Inspector-Generals Of Police ( and Followers) must possess in order to order to become highly effective leaders within their organisations but I will make use of nine (9). These are attributes the newly appointed Acting Inspector – General Of Police possess in great depth.
Active Listening – Listening is a quality Dr. George Akuffo Dampare possesses and which he properly utilizes very well. He does not take for it granted. This innate gift is one with constant exercise and awareness will put proven leaders at an advantage when it comes to getting required and expected results from their followers. Listening in itself, isn’t what requires exercise – it’s how to listen, and who to listen, and whom to listen to that does. According the US Department of State “active listening is a skill taught to teachers and police officers, counselors, ministers, rabbis and priests. It is a skill we would all do better having learned, practiced.” For one to become an active listener, he/she must understand the attributes of active listening:
- Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood.
- Be non- judgmental.
- Give your undivided attention to the speaker.
- Use silence effectively.
The “who” leaders should actively listen to is all stakeholders. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. Once said “ A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus.” When a leader actively listens to and shows a sincere interest in his or her supporters and followers, the leader’s desired outcomes will also become the consensus of the stakeholders. When the leader listens to,
request feedback, and gains insight from the people that matter, there is a higher likelihood that those stakeholders will buy in to the desired outcomes.
“Emotional Quotient” is the ability to listen empathetically; speak in a manner that communicates the message and ensuring that your body language is congruent with your intended message. It is also a sense of “command presence.” This is the first level of defence.
Hosting periodic listening sessions with rank and file is another method through which Dr. Dampare will solicit valuable ideas from those who handle the day-to- day aspects of the job. This was a very key attribute of Dr. Dampare when he was the DG/Welfare
- Education – Education in my personal opinion, is an element of leadership development that is continuous regardless of one’s skill as a leader. No matter where one is in life, learning to better oneself, his or staff, and department should be an unending one. Dr Dampare in my humble opinion, should inter alia consider instructing leadership training sessions within the service to better prepare rank and file to take on leadership roles for personal and organisational development and to increase morale and efficiency. This part of training should candidly be form part of succession planning if done correctly.
- Attention to Detail – Having a broad conceptual knowledge of the Police Service is, of course, important but a strong leader is always aware of the details, such as knowing which personnel are best at what types of assignments. To be able to build crucial relationships within the Police Service; and to build legitimacy and thus, buy-in from the officers and the community there will be the need to master this skill.
For example, Units, Districts and Divisional Commands must be tasked to create a Strategic Crime Prevention Plan(SCPP) presented to the Region Command and others at a meeting, attention to detail in that presentation will most certainly be one of the determining factors in whether the Regional Commander acting in the stead of the Inspector-General Of Police believes in the commanders or the plan. If that a commander can present concrete information on how to address a community problem, the solution is more likely to be accepted. In contrast, if that commander simply did not conduct research, overlooked key details, and presented materials in a broad context, chances are that the desired outcome will not be achieved. Before presenting material to any group, a good leader needs to
be able to manage details well enough to answer all questions that could surface. Demonstrating attention to detail also suggests to stakeholders and the rank and file that the leader is equipped to handle the issues at hand. Dr. Dampare is well equipped to handle issues at hand but with the commitment and support of rank and file.
- Directions – Directions provided to a subordinate are only as good as the method and manner in which they were given. An outstanding leader will give clear and consistent instructions. The Police Service as it stands is soaked in negative public perception and indiscipline. I have personally observed how rank and file flout service directives with impunity. Some officers and men by virtue of their office, have deliberately or inadvertently act unfairly and have refused to comply with requirements imposed on them.
Checking for understanding and answering questions to ensure the tasks are complete with minimal errors by allowing the opportunity to review directives and assignments helps eliminate redundancy and interpreting information differently. Removing distractions and providing the information in the best possible environment will help Dr. Dampare to ensure that communications are received understood and carried – out.
- Evolution – The ability of Dr. Dampare to evolve and adapt has turned him into a better leader and a high achieving leader with loyal following. Once a commander feel secure in the way he/she has always conducted his business of directing, controlling, inspiring, motivating and so forth, it is a sign that it might be time to reinvent his leadership style. Dr. Dampare in my candid opinion, will have to organise workshops for the Junior commanders to tweak to keep up with the incoming generations and in order to attain personal growth.
For example, younger generations relate and interact well with more recent technology, virtual devices and social media platforms. So commanders will have to adapt and educate themselves on a broad spectrum of the various forms of technology to become more relevant and to and be inspired by these young officers. Commanders do not only relate with police departments but the community as well.
It is my hope and prayer that Dr. Dampare will be able to relate and communicate with citizenry in a manner the citizenry is familiar with in, order to relay the messages that they need to receive. Succeeding in this quest will entail
adequately resourcing the Human Resource Capabilities of the Public Affairs Unit. This is an area Mr. Apeatu did so well with ACP David Senanu Eklu ( as he then was) leading the charge.
I personally believe that with time, rank and file will emulate the evolution and adaptation of Dr. Dampare to the ever-changing times.
- Resourcefulness – Dr. Dampare is very resourceful, clever and innovative and this his traits are particularly important when it comes to solving complex or tedious problems. Resourcefulness is certainly necessary when managing and leading any group of personnel with the Police Service. If commanders cannot creatively lead their team to accomplish objectives despite potential obstacles, how can they mentor and guide personnel looking to them for skill development? Developing the skill of personnel requires that commanders recognize personnel full potential by maximizing their performance skill sets and encouraging them to think outside the box
- Service – Service is something all police officers know they professionally provide to the communities in which they serve. This community service is necessary from the visible form of government representation – but there must be internal service to complete the concept. Dr. Dampare without doubt, will serve his subordinates on the front lines who will become the future leaders of the service. Commanders should be reminded of the provisions of S.I 61 where they are enjoined to fully interact with their staff on the last Fridays of every month on a category of issues stated therein, know their psychological, physical and emotional needs and what would make their lives better in the performance of their duties.
The commanders will be surprise by some of the responses they will receive when taking this approach because replies will mostly be manageable requests. Serving his subordinates will let them know that he truly cares and this will provide much more incentive for productivity and morale to increase across board. This is a quality he has never lacked.
- Integrity, Resilience & Technical Skills – Integrity is also the essential ingredients in leading others. Strong morals and honesty demonstrated by a leader with integrity will reinforce the service’s mission statement and citizen’s expectations of professional policing. Many people are today in the police service
for their personal gains as perceived by the public. It is impossible to dwell in the role of a police officer without a high level of integrity. The public need to know that they can trust you and that they are safe. Those who pose threats to others need to know that you will treat them with respect. Rank and File need to know that in intense situations, they can trust you to be safe and watch their backs. As police officers, integrity is the difference between a just system and a corrupt one. Without integrity, there is little hope for trust and legitimacy.
Excerpts from the 2015 report by the United States President’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing stated:
“Law Enforcement agencies should acknowledge the role of policing in past and present injustice and discrimination and how it is a hurdle to the promotion of community trust.”
This in my considered opinion, is one definitive way to display integrity and commitment to the citizenry. An agency that has a reputation for having officers with integrity is an agency that has the trust of the citizenry.
Without integrity, you don’t have leadership, you have intimidation.
In today’s society, police officers need to have a thick skin and a sense of resilience. Sometimes, you may be seen as an enemy, and it will be important to bounce back from those comments and understand your true worth and the importance of what you do.
This an area that reminds me of COP’s Kofi Boakye , Awini, George Alex Mensah et al.
Resilience can also help you face challenges that are sure to come up in your policing career. It is the ability to determine truth even though your emotions or presuppositions conflict with the evidence. You have to put your personal feelings aside and follow the evidence, regardless. Dr. Dampare has, for a fact, surmounted those challenges with patience and dignity in the past.
Technical Skills will play a large part in the day-to-day duties of Dr. Dampare’s Administration as has the always be the case. This requires continuous training and physical abilities. Officers who are physically unfit are ill prepared for combat duties. They also do not exhibit a sense of command presence.
This is where I will suggest my infantile “uneducated” illiterate opinion who is to be posted to the directorate of Operations, Human Resource and Administration.
It is my considered opinion that, pairing COP Kofi Boakye and Dr. Shaibu Gariba for Operations Directorate will be perfect for operational efficiency. COP Yaagi Akuriba will fit DG/Administration provided he his the senior most as the convention has always been. He is a pure primus inter pares when it comes to the role. This is a man who has rose through the levels to Chief Staff Officer, thus well acquainted himself with declarative and procedural knowledge. But Dr. Shaibu Gariba who possesses Doctorate Degree in Human Resource Development, DG/Human Resource is where he will bring to bear his efficiency in Strategic Human Resource Management Practices and Human Resource Information systems. COP George Alex Mensah and Tetteh Yohunu, respectively, possesses mountain of experience in practical policing and must be given the opportunity to bring their wealth of experience to bear just like COP Mr Awini. Not forgetting COP Fredrick Adu-Anim who is also a known ‘creme de la crème.’ Every body at the top level possesses mountain of experience to deliver regardless of their portfolio.
- People - People are the foundation on which leadership is built – good leaders cultivate good followers. People need to be praised in public for a job well done, and they appreciate when leaders see beyond their uniform to individuals with personal interests and concerns.
People need to be coached to become better and more comfortable in their positions, and , at times, they need to be motivated to continue pursuing outstanding performance and congratulated on reaching successful goals. An effective leader must discover the strengths of individuals and help them utilize those strengths, thus increasing both performance and morale. Dr. Dampare is a people’s person and remains very patient, affable and humble hence his leadership will become exponentially simpler. Quite frankly, he puts people first and this will be the foundation of his success as the Acting Inspector-General Of Police which will eventually transmogrify in his confirmation as the substantive Inspector-General of Police .
Sir, I wish you success from Horvi, my small village along the enviable coast of Keta in the Volta Region.
By : INSPR. Richmond Yao Willington
Email : [email protected] 0242219248/0200214698