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30.04.2008 General News

HO RESIDENTS PUT POLICE ON CARPET… Level avalanche of accusations against them

By Samuel Agbewode, Ho - Ghanaian Chronicle

Participants at a forum, on
Good Police and Public
Relationship in Ho, have called for the establishment of a Police Intelligence and Professional unit (PIP), to enable the public make complaints about the conduct of police officers, who misconduct themselves in the discharge of their duties to the Unit for redress.

This, they noted, would help ensure a sound relationship between the police, and the public, since it would mitigate the high level of suspicion the public have about the police, to help promote effective policing in the country.

The participants, who levelled several allegations against the police, ranging from brutalities to extortion of money from drivers, pointed out that such negative practices have led to the loss of trust, and confidence in the police by the public, and demanded that the police change their attitude.

They cited instances in the North Tongu District, where cases of cattle rustling were reported to the police, but they failed to act upon it.

In cases where the rustlers are arrested, they are released within some few days, and that ends the case.

Another area that participants dilated on, was the situation, where police after taking statements from complainants, conclude that the accused was guilty of the offence made against him or her. This biased attitude, they noted, was indication that police were not respecting the rights of others.

Reacting to these allegations, the Volta Regional Police Commander, DCOP Bernard Dery, who is also a lawyer, noted that because the region is close to the Togolese border, it it was facing so many challenges, and called on the people to appreciate the efforts by the police, to maintain law and order.

DCOP Dery said the region could, in recent times, be described as the most peaceful, due to the hard work of the police, as well as effective collaboration, between them and the public, saying crime had reduced considerably in the region.

The Regional Police Commander assured the public that the Regional Police Command, was doing everything possible, to deepen the police and public relations. 

The Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, said peace and security were crucial to development, and noted that the police have the responsibility to protect law and order in society, to ensure peaceful coexistence between them, and civil society for accelerated development.

The Regional Minister asked the police to be responsive to public calls, so as to build mutual trust and respect for the police service, which would go a long way to enhance the activities of the police service.

Mr. Dzamesi pointed out that had government identified problems confronting the police service, and made several interventions to address some of them, by providing the needed logistical support, to enable them to deliver more effectively.

Another growing trend, which threatens peace, law and order, was the spate of mob actions, and the delivery of instance justice by civil society, noting that if such actions were allowed to continue, it would mean lack of confidence in the police, and the law courts, for fear that justice would be denied them.

The Commanding Officer of the 66 Artillery Regiment at Ho, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Kotia, who explained the rationale behind military involvement in internal security, said it was to create a formidable relation between the Army, and other security agencies, and used the occasion to caution against the sale, and use of military uniforms by civil society.

The forum, which was themed, 'Improving the Relationship between the Police and the Public', was organized by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in Africa, and funded by the British High Commission.

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