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20.09.2005 Feature Article

RE: The Police Announce Measures To Check Accidents.

RE: The Police Announce Measures To Check Accidents.
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In all fairness, I must say kudos to the police for strategizing on measures to curb road accidents in Ghana which is claiming very young and dynamic lives. However, I must opine here that the chief cop and his honchos though, have good plans yet, the strategy to implement this noble plan is wrong for the following reasons:

1. In the first place, the phone numbers published are way to many for anybody to remember when they may face with any need to report a road hazard, being it brokendown vehicle or careless driving. One has to remember the district where she or he observes the problem and then, the appropriate number to dial. Assuming someone is travelling on the Accra-Kumasi road and finds a need to report something, How would the person know whether to call to Suhum, Anyinam, Nkawkaw, Konongo and etc? First one needs to know exactly the jurisdiction under which the particular thing he/she intends to report on falls before coming up with the appropriate phone number to call. Isn't this cumbersome and tedious? Solution: It will be appropriate to have only two numbers which the public can memorize and call in-case they have something to report, like the police emergency number and the fire service number. the police should then have a national center staffed with computers and personnel who will receive such calls or text messages and they would in-turn call the appropriate town or village police that is nearer to the scene of the hazard to dispatch personnel to the scene to remedy the situation. eg. Assuming one witnesses a broken-down vehicle between Konongo and Juaso on the Accra-Kumasi road, One would only text the police road safety center to report the hazard providing details about the nature, if it is a car, the color, make, direction it is travelling and if possible the licence plate number, and leave it to them to either call Konogo police or Juaso police to the scene. If on the other hand, I witness a speeding car between the same two locations heading towards Kumasi, It is their duty, after providing them with a good description of the car to call Konongo police to wait and apprehend the car. Citizens can not do this if they have so many numbers to contend with, as many as were published by the police.Besides, people may not know the name of the next town or village on the road they are travelling, so it is only the expert who can provide that after getting the name of the immediate town or village the motorist just passed by, and the direction he/she is travelling.

2. You do not tell people not to offer bribes. Anybody who finds himself on the wrong side of the law would definitely want to get disentangled if that would mean paying somthing less costly than it would otherwise be, if the law is allowed to take its natural course. It is up to our sworn officials to refuse to be bribed and perform their duty with dignity and honesty. All persons, big or small, rich or poor, politicians and non-politicians must all be treated equally by the police.

solution. To achieve this, the police must be given incentives to dissuade them from taking bribes; they must receive a certain percentage of all summons proceeds they bring to the government chest, which of course must be paid every month. They must be promoted on effectiveness on the job, meaning the number of arrests made in a year and not on meaningless courses they attend.If this is done, the police will gradually put behind them the culture of bribe.

It must also, be made harder for the police to be fired. they must more or less have permanent jobs unless they commit some grevious offence. This is the only way they can hold out to and face the "Do you know who I am" people. the political elites, the rich, the influential people must all be made to respect the police and not to threaten them with dismissal when they fall into the law.

All the above suggestions notwithstanding, I salute our police for making a huge impact with less resources and the IGP must be commended for coming up with those bold steps to curb road accidents and its associated deaths. Benjamin Opoku Agyepong Columbia University NY Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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