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06.06.2008 General News

Police must be trained like military to handle weapons better, Addo-Kufuor advocates

By The Statesman
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The former Minister for Defence and minister designate for Interior, Kwame Addo-Kufuor, has advocated for the military type of training which places more emphasis on uses and applications of weapons and ammunition, for personnel of the Ghana Police Service.

According to him, such training will enable personnel of the GPS better handle ammunitions and weapons any time the need arises, so as reduce the number of incidents of casualties arising from the firing of stray bullets disperse crowds which has become a common phenomenon in the country.

Dr Addo-Kufuor made these statements yesterday when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

"Mr Chairman, the issue of stray bullets hitting and killing innocent people has become a worrying situation in this country, that is why I will recommend that police personnel who part take in operations are quarantined at the various military shooting ranges for a period and given the kind of training the military undergo to enable them better handle weapons when need be", he opined.

On the cocaine menace, he said, though there are already measures such as the "Operation West Bridge" in place to fight drug trafficking through the nation's exit points, he will ensure that other local and international interventions are employed to totally eradicate the drug menace if he is given the nod.

In his estimation, the issue of drugs has the tendency to destroy the very foundations upon which the Ghanaian society is founded; hence he will do his best to work with all stakeholders to ensure that, those already in the trade and those who would want to join the drug trade are stopped in their tracks.

On the issue of armed robbery, he said, there is the need to reintroduce the programme adopted some years back where, the combined forces of the police and the military patrol the country mount and check points at night.

This move, according to him, will instill some fear in would be criminals wait for the cover of darkness to make trouble. He also called for the reintroduction of the community watch dog initiative with some motivation for those willing to take that risk.

On accommodation for the police, he indicated that, superiors in the service should supervise police rented apartments to make sure that, the junior ranks living there, do not run the place down so that home owners will lease out their apartments to the police.

Dr Addo-Kufuor was also of the view that, the present Police Headquarters should be relocated to the country side where they can have access to vast stretches of land to take care of all their all infrastructural needs and the officers bussed to town as and when the need arises.

He assured members of the committee that he will make certain that, members of the security services protect all individuals no matter their political affiliation before, during and after the election.

"As far as I remain the Minister of Interior, I will ensure that the Police and indeed all security personnel conduct themselves in a politically neutral manner, that is a pledge and I mean it", he stressed.

Meanwhile, minister-designate for Trade Industry, PSI and PSD, Papa Owusu Ankomah, has debunked allegations that, the PSI initiative on starch has failed. Rather, he said, the initiative is facing infant and teething challenges like any new industry.

He said the starch that is produced by that initiative can compete with starch produced any where in the world, hence there is the need to give it the needed financial support for it to overcome the challenges.

On the Economic Partnership Agreement, he said, once, he is approved, he will have a close look at it and ensure that it conforms with Ghana"s interest before recommending to government for its assent.

He told members that, though Ghana has a trade policy and a sector support programme, most people doing business in the country are not aware of it, hence he will embark on vigorous education to the public to enable them better understand and espouse their view on it as well as explain it to others.

Kwabena Mensah-Bonsu, currently Ghana's ambassador to Togo, also appeared before the committee to be vetted as a Minister of State at the Castle.

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