The Ghana Police Service has been in the news for the past month or so due to a leaked tape with alleged voices of some prominent individuals in Ghanaian society and in the Police force. The main conversation on the said leaked tape revolved around how to oust the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare.
Those heard on the tape include Chief Bugri Naabu, a former Northern Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), COP Alex Mensah, Director of Operations of the Police Service, Superintendent George Asare, and Superintendent Emmanuel Eric Gyebi.
Given the gravity of the words that were uttered by these prominent people on the tape,the Parliament of Ghana set up an Ad Hoc Committee to interrogate the concerned parties on the issues discussed on the tape.
The leaked tape has been described as doctored by Hon. Atta Akyea, Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South who doubles as Chairman for the Ad Hoc Committee and COP Alex Mensah, one of those heard on the tape. The latter during his interrogation before the committee observed that the IGP was not managing the Police Service well.
“Dampare is not managing the Police Service well and the majority of the police officers are not happy. You can call the police officers underground and they will tell you”, COP Mensah told the committee on Thursday, August 31st as reported by Pulse.com.
After carefully analysing the conduct of the IGP since he was appointed into office, the statements by both social commentators and the public since the leaking of the contentious tape, as well as the statements by the high-ranking police officers during their interrogation, I have come to believe that some Ghanaians naturally abhor discipline and anyone who decides to instill same is disliked. Here are 10 reasons why I believe some members of the Police force (such as COP Alex Mensah) may not be happy with the IGP:
1: Excellent Discipline
The disciplined character of the IGP has been repeatedly demonstrated since he was appointed. An example is exhibited in the equitable enforcement of traffic rules. This has ensured that even Members of Parliament and Ministers have been detained and fined for flouting these rules. The IGP expects this same level of discipline from his service men, but because change is difficult for some, there is resistance and resentment.
2: Strong Stance against corruption
Whilst most police officers have integrity and always do the right thing, some of the officers detailed for barrier duties extort money from people and bring the senior officers their share of the spoils. This current IGP does not tolerate such corrupt behaviour and has warned commanders to remove all unauthorized roadblocks. All officers involved in these corrupt acts, are unhappy about this as this prevents them from extorting money from drivers and this has translated into resentment for the IGP
From a very reliable source, it has been observed that some police officers are so lazy that, even when citizens come and make complaints to them, they fail to invite or interview the defendant or even act on the complaint. Even in cases where official statements are taken down, the investigators do not do their best to solve the cases, but rather delay their closure which is popularly known in the Akan language as ‘ko n’abra ko n’abra’.
Upon the appointment of Dr. Dampare,a unit tagged ‘the Cold Case Unit’ was created. It is this unit’s responsibility to visit police stations, go through their books, and follow up on all unattended cases for investigations. This has helped a lot of victims to get justice, but this seems to be frowned upon by some of the police investigators. One example of the cases the Cold Case Unit has dealt with is the GAPHA case. Through this initiative, some of the key suspects were arrested and are being prosecuted.
4: No Clear Political Stance
Based on the radical changes that the IGP has brought into the Ghana Police Service, some police officers expected him to clearly demonstrate his political affiliation, but since he has not done so, they are left to speculate and in turn believe that he must then support whatever party they oppose i.e., NPP will consider him NDC and the NDC will see him as an NPP member.
5: Outstanding Professionalism
Since his appointment, the organizational actions of Dr. Dampare clearly exhibited that he is a person with a professional and firm demeanour. From very credible sources within the police service,it is said it is impossible to influence the IGP to transfer an officer to his or her preferred place of choice. This has caused him some bad publicity among those who would prefer he bent the law. Because of this, some of the senior officers have allegedly influenced some other ranking officers to gang up against him (IGP) and I believe this is one of the issues that has manifested in the interrogation at the ad hoc committee.
6: Zero Tolerance for Police Aided Crimes
The IGP has gained some notoriety within the service for reshuffling all police officers who had stayed long at certain posts and had been accused of acting as land guards to aid in illegal mining activities. These transfers seemed to have caused some estrangement between the police officers in question and the IGP. Not too long ago, a video popped up from the Western region where some police officers were captured pleading with a self-acclaimed illegal miner who had collected the guns of the police officers and was leveling some corruption allegations against them. But the truth was later revealed , that those police officers aided in some illegal mining activities and they had allegedly shortchanged the Illegal miner. This is a typical example of the illegalities the IGP is fighting against.
7: Ban on Hasty and Uninformed Press Releases and Meetings
The Police service’s mandate is to ensure law and order and this builds trust between the Police Service and the Ghanaian Citizens.If the Police put out wrong or hastily prepared information out without proper checks like it did in the missing Takoradi girls’ case, it sends wrong signals not to only citizens but to the international communities. The IGP has been emphatic in ensuring that only well-investigated and fact-based information is released to the general public. Not all the officers are happy about this as lowers or eliminates potential publicity, especially for certain senior officers.
8: Dedication in Renovating the Headquarters
Some senior officers view the renovation of the police headquarters as unnecessary and poor allocation of funds and believe the money should rather be shared to them.
A quick drive by the Police Headquarters depicts a fresh facelift for the building.
Sources say that the IGP used Internally Generated Funds to refurbish the place, but some senior officers believe that it was not a necessity.
The IGP has restructured the Ghana Police Service and placed competent officers in especially sensitive roles within the organization.This has lowered crime rates across the country drastically. Whilst this restructuring was based purely on competence and merit, some officers who do not qualify for roles or have not been promoted based on vacancy of a role, feel they were overlooked are working to sabotage the good work of the IGP or give him a bad name.
10: Police Welfare
Understanding that there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ Dr. Dampare has put in place a policy which requires regional commanders to attend the funerals of all police officers, even those below the rank of ACP,a privilege that was previously only extended to more senior ranking officers. This has upset some officers who used this to play favourites within the force.
Clearly, any police officer who is resistant to GOOD change and not willing to serve the force and our motherland Ghana, to the best of his/her capabilities , will definitely be unhappy with the excellent culture of discipline and integrity that IGP Dr Dampare is instilling in the Ghana Police Service. He should lauded for the good reforms he has put in place to make the citizens of Ghana feel safer and trust the police.
PAA KWESI A
A SOCIAL OBSERVER