No contest: Police Administration back away from CHRAJ findings
A report carried by the Daily Graphic newspaper on Monday says the Police Administration would not contest the findings of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice on the level of human rights abuses in the Ghana Police Service.
A fortnight ago, the Police Administration similarly accepted, without contest, an indicting report of an inquisition into a shooting incident involving policemen at Dansoman in Accra that resulted in the death of four civilians.
Rather the Police Administration would cash in on the findings to improve upon its training programmes to help reduce the incidence of human rights abuses in the discharge of its policing duties, especially in effecting arrest, suspect handling and interrogation techniques.
Quoting the acting Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kwesi Ofori, the paper said the Police Administration had over the years tried to improve upon its training curricula to cover democratic policing concepts, human rights and police ethics at the police training schools and explained that the essence of such moves was to give a human face to police operations.
The Police PR head said however that policing in this part of the world was a difficult assignment, considering misconceptions held about the police by the society.
That, he said, often resulted in isolated cases of misjudgment and deeds on the part of some police personnel trying to bring erring citizens to order.
DSP Ofori said the Police Administration was determined to ensure that a policy was fashioned out along the democratic aspirations of Ghanaians, adding that “the police cannot distance itself from the democratic path of the country”.
According to him, the new police ought to be client-oriented and be at the service of the ordinary citizen, prevent crime and be accepted by the community in which they served.
“The era of iron-fisted police is over, the policeman or woman should be able to relate and link up with the wider society by knowing their needs and providing them”, he said.
DSP Ofori said the findings and comments of CHRAJ would therefore be looked at critically and be used as material for the police to improve upon its operations.
He said policing differed from place to place, depending on the perceptions of the people of the police vis-à-vis their cultural systems.
DSP Ofori said Ghanaians must understand that work of the police was for national peace and stability.
On the perceived upsurge in crime in recent times, DSP Ofori said crime statistics available to the police did not depict an upsurge in robberies in the country.
According to him, from November 1, 2006 to December 17, 2006, 30 robberies were committed countrywide as against 197 for November and December last year.
“As of December 17, 2006, the police had recorded 10 robberies throughout the country as against 20 cases for November, showing a drastic improvement in the situation”, he said.
He stated that most recent robberies were street robberies, where items such as mobile phones, wrist watches and money were stolen and that most of the suspects were arrested.