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05.12.2007 Feature Article



For surveillance and forensic purposes, Ghana Police Service needs blind police officers in its rank and file to enable it to fight crimes effectively.

Those in the law enforcement and crime fighting businesses know that ninety-five percent of crimes committed, or about to be committed are solved by using ninety-five percent of the three basic human senses-----the nose, the ear and the eye. The rest is just a raw gut and personal intuition. These have been the arsenals in the trade since crimes were invented by humankind. However, losing one of these senses doesn't and shouldn't necessarily disqualify one from being an active and effective crime fighter.

In fact, a blind person is compensated by nature to filter information more accurately with the ear than a sighted person. The blind sense of smelling is higher than those of us who have sight.

The upsurge and proliferation of global illicit- drug trafficking and terrorism, increase in organized intercontinental crimes and the quest of some few selfish individuals who want to get rich quicker without any sweat , are making Ghana to have more than its share of criminal activities than anticipated. The effect of this is that, our State security apparatus have been stretched to an unprecedented limit.

The fact on hand now is that using the natural weapons like: the ears, the eyes, the nose and personal intuition are just as effective as the modern day technologies. These old, but just discovered natural crime fighting techniques have been tried in Belgium and the Netherlands. These countries are using specialized blind officers in transcribing and analyzing surveillance recordings—wiretapping and eavesdropping. It is believed that the blind are very good in linguistic and have the capability to learn different languages and sounds with much ease. They have very superb abilities to hear like an elephant and can also have a memory comparable to the computer and ability to retain and recall information at a faster speed. It's believed that hearing is the fastest vehicle for memorization of detailed events.

Ghana has many brilliant blind persons in its higher institutions of learning. Those of you who have had the opportunity to share learning environment with the blind will realize that they are very powerful in the use of their other senses.

This article is to challenge the Ghana Police Service (GPS) to effectively harness this abundance resource to fight local and international crimes. In these days and age, it will be easy to recruit and set-up a blind officers unit, with very reliable Global Position system (GPS) and voice –activated devices. There are also specially equipped computers with Braille key boards and software that translates images on the computer screen into sound with the aim of reducing the blind officers' physical limitations.

Come next January, a lot of foreigners and all kinds of criminal elements will descend on Ghana for the games. Wouldn't it be prudent for the Ghana Police Service to “plant” blind police officers at our stadiums, to monitor criminal activities with their “listening devices”? In the dog-eat-dog crime –fighting business world any little advantage over the perpetuator would worth more than tons of gold.

The use of blind officers' challenges and rewards:
1) Most surveillance recordings have loud background noise; a typical example was the tape in the alleged cocaine case. Analyzing such tapes requires highly trained ears to process and screen out the voices and valued evidential contents. Blind officers can make this task very easy and cost effective.

2) Blind officers would be very dedicated to their jobs assignments because they would be compelled to prove their skills to their sighted colleagues.

3) Using the blind officers in the administrative work in the service would ultimately free up the sighted manpower, so that GPS can deploy the sighted cops in other physically demanding tasks, such as crowd control, patrols and many other critical proactive and reactive modules.

4) Forensic police work would be enhanced if the blind police officers are used.

5) Most major crimes are solved with forensic and surveillance tools, therefore using the blind police officers would be a win, win situation for the nation and the Police Service.

The challenges of using blind police officers are more of social problems than physical one. Some sighted officers would find it hard to work with the blind officers because of the fear of not knowing how to relate to them.

The society has a stigma attached to any physically challenged person; therefore it makes it very difficult for people to see other capabilities of a handicapped person.

However, this ignorance or stigma could be minimized if proper sensitivity programs are adopted for the sighted officers and the Ghanaian society. People's attitudes could be changed when a blind officer shows his determination, usefulness and willingness in fighting crimes and other critical skills, other than what we have been made to know ----- the basket weaving, singing and begging along the streets of our cities.

One doesn't care who saves and protects his or her life and property. The only thing is to have a safe society free of miscreants and criminals. Ghana Police Service needs all the brains it can access and if a blind person can do the job so be it.

I know hiring very brilliant blind police officers is not happening in Ghana anytime soon. But, in its place, we will have officers who were recruited with “political connections.” Those were the ones who were not fit to do the job they were employed to do. Some of these recruits are sometime dumped on the Service without observing the lay down recruitment procedures– back ground check, character assessment and intellectual capacity.
Hmm... How do I put it delicately? The Ghana Police is usually used by the politicians because its leaders of the past failed to be professionals. They were to a large extent seen as bed- fellows of the political systems, such that they found it very difficult to challenge the politicians or the need to reject such unwholesome party sympathizers who were rewarded for the sake of “job- for- the- boys and girls”

.In fact, a large number of these undesirable elements are those who cause much embarrassment to the majority hard -working officers, of the Police Service. My apprehension is that these “half- baked” officers are those who will surely make fun of the idea of bringing blind officers on board. In addition, they are those who will continue to make bad name for the rest of the hard -working officers-including those serving excellently in the AU and UN Missions. I'm sure these bad –apples will definitely pad-lock the recruitment system to prevent the Ghana Police from hiring the Blind officers.

By the way, is the GPS developing a documentary on the activities of its officers serving all over the world so that the Ghanaians can appreciate what their Police officers are doing outside Ghana? Are you aware that Ghana has the largest police contingent serving in any peace- keeping mission in the entire world? It's a plus for the nation, isn't it?

Mr. IGP, you are on top of your task, with the few hitches notwithstanding. But try and get to the apex by exploring this option which is now available, as one of the modern ways of fighting crime.

Since the Police Service is infested with some officers devoid of integrity and dedication to their duties, injecting a new breed of officers into the Service could change things around and make the Police redeem its deflated reputation.

One more thing: when is the Police Service going to make use of dogs as part of its crime –fighting arsenals?

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi

* The Author is a Social commentator and the founder of Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment, Educational and Apprenticeship Foundation.

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi, © 2007

This author has authored 198 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwakuAduGyamfi

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