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09.06.2008 Education

Ghana Police cry for facilities

By Daily Graphic
Ghana Police cry for facilities
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The Ghana Police Training School is in dire need of modern training facilities to train policemen and women with the necessary skills to fight modern day crime, the Commanding Officer of the school, Mr J.A. Abass-Abaah, has said.

He told the Daily Graphic that the school lacked basic structures such as classrooms with audio and video equipment, sleeping places for recruits and a gymnasium to physically condition recruits for the task ahead.

He said most of the buildings were put up in the 1940s when the school trained less than a 100 people every year, and also saw an insignificant expansion in facilities in the early 1970s. After that no major expansion had been done.

“Today we train about 2,000 people a year and we use those same structures. This is unacceptable,” he added.

Mr Abass-Abaah said it was a policy of the Ghana Police Service to train personnel to disarm suspects and actual criminals to prevent them (police) from resorting to arms in every situation but due to the lack of a gymnasium, training in that endeavour had become difficult.

He added that there was also an official plan to equip all trainees with driving skills "so that every policeman will know how to drive" but the absence of a driving school had made it impossible.

"We do not even have vehicles to teach driving," he said.

Mr Abass-Abaah said, the Police Administration had realised that it needed to ensure that weapon training was not done in the full glare of members of the public because criminals would become aware of the kinds of skills the police possessed.

"We have realised that we need to take weapon training away from the full glare of the public and not do it at the Teshie Shooting Range where passers-by will see what we do. We need indoor facilities for this but they are unavailable," he said.

"So when the criminals pass by the shooting range, they are able to observe and determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the police in shooting," he added.

He said with the level of sophistication of crime in this modern day, the police needed to acquire skills that put them ahead of criminals.

Mr Abass-Abaah said the school had approached many companies in the country to donate a few thousands of cedis towards the procurement of equipment and the establishment of basic training facilities but they had refused.

"We have solicited to donate funds from many of the big and huge profit-making organisations in the country but they have declined to come to our aid yet they have money to sponsor numerous reality shows and other entertainment programmes in the country,” he said.

“They have failed to realize that there is need for peace and security to prevail to enable them make their billions. They do not know that it is the personnel of a well-trained and capable Police Service that can provide them the security to carry out their activities in peace,” he added.

Meanwhile, interference in the selection and training of recruits at the police training schools by senior police officers has been identified as a major cause of indiscipline in the Ghana Police Service.

Sources within the Service told the Daily Graphic that senior police officers manoeuvred to get their relatives and wards of friends and associates admitted to the training schools.

Those relatives or wards, the sources said, were not fit to be admitted to the school and, therefore, not eligible for the Service.

They said because of their re1ationship with the senior officers, some of the trainees refused to take orders, or did so reluctantly and showed disrespect to their superiors.

Some of the trainees also complained about the treatment they received from the senior officers, who then interfered with operations.

"Some of the officers even go to the extent of calling the trainees to find out which particular officer is disturbing them. This is unacceptable," one of the sources said.

They said because of the situation, some of the instructors were unwilling to order trainees to work or to reproach them for any wrongdoing.

They said due to the situation, in the past few years and presently, personnel who passed through the schools did not acquire the necessary training.

The sources said senior police officers needed to stop the interference if they desired well-trained, disciplined and dedicated service personnel.

They said if all the indiscipline currently being witnessed in the Service were to stop, only people who were qualified and had actually "received the calling" and were prepared to learn and carry out instructions should be recruited.

Other sources said what happened in the Service with regard to interference happened in other organisations in Ghana and that the Police Service needed not be singled out.

"I am sure this happens in even your own organisation. We all seek to help the people we know. This happens everywhere," the sources said.

In a reaction, the Commanding Officer of the National Police Training School, Mr. Abass-Abaah, said instructors at the school had been given a free hand to train recruits and added that no such complaints had come to his notice.

He said if there was any interference, it would “hit" him first as commanding officer of the school before it got to the instructors.

He said it was surprising that the sources of the Daily Graphic had not brought the problem, if it actually existed, to his notice and rather decided to talk to the media.

Mr Abass-Abaah said he made it a policy not to identify the recruits by their names because he did not want to know who they were related to.

With regard to the issue of people not being fit to enter the schools, he said the system had a way of identifying such people at a later date, if not on the day of admission.
He said the school admitted Senior High School products but also accepted tradesmen with lower qualifications when there was the need.

The acting Public Affairs Director of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Akwasi Ofori, when contacted, said instructors at the police training schools needed to know better and not allow themselves to be influenced by any senior police offi¬cer.

He declined further comment.

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