The Upper West Regional Youth revealed at a press conference that night security men popularly known as watchmen are more vulnerable to alleged ritual killings in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region.
This view was contained in research findings conducted by the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament on "Private security accountability in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region.’’
The study was centered on the following objectives; identify businesses or organizations that engage the services of private security; examine the mode of recruitment of private security personnel; examine training, logistics and enumeration of private security personnel; and examine the functionality of streetlights for night visibility and crime prevention.
The target population of the study was private security personnel (Watchmen) who guard businesses including schools, private residences and retail and wholesale shops. Private security personnel constitutes the target population because of the alleged ritual killings in the Wa Municipality of which the majority of the victims are night watchmen, thereby raising an alert of private security personnel becoming vulnerable to kidnapping and alleged ritual killings. The sample size calculated resulted in 50 respondents comprising security personnel from private residences, schools, wholesale shops, and supermarkets and so on. The study adopted a field survey to gather data.
The study report exposed the vulnerability context of private security in the region including inadequate logistics, lack of or inadequate training and poor enumerations. On the security of the Wa Municipality regarding streetlights installations, the study revealed that majority of the streets in the Municipality have streetlights not functioning or partiality functioning; this affect night visibility. The report further hinted that majority of the businesses are not even conscious of modern security installations (not installing CCTV Cameras) thereby compromising visibility within the business environment.
The evidence from the study indicates that the majority of people who are recruited into private security are older men as 82% of Watchmen are aged between 50 years and above. Other findings revealed that 80% of private security personnel have not received formal education. Regarding training, logistical support and remuneration of private security personnel, the study revealed that the overwhelming majority has not received training and logistical support limited to the provision of flashlights and sometimes working gear (uniform), while they receive peanuts as salary. The study further uncovered that majority of the streetlights installations are either not functioning or partially functioning.
The study advanced some key recommendations to help address the emerging concerns. These are;
- The Municipal Security Committee (MUSEC) should admonish all businesses including private schools and residential apartments to improve upon their lighting systems.
- The Wa Municipal Assembly should demonstrate quality leadership to ensure all parts of the Municipality have sufficient and functional streetlights. The Upper West Regional youth parliament further questioned government for not providing the Wa Municipality with the 3% share of the streetlight levy.
- There is a need to regularize private security operations in the Wa Municipality as we call for a ban on the practices of businesses or facilities engaging the aged as watchmen. The department of community development and social welfare should identify these aged as private security personnel and enroll in LEAP Programmes for them to be laid off.
- The study also recommends the need for the Government of Ghana (GoG) and MUSEC to as a matter of urgency disbands the informal engagement of older men as private security personnel as they remain vulnerable targets to ritual killings.