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18.10.2008 Feature Article

Crime Made Easy

The motor-cycle is an efficient mode of transportation. Its fuel consumption is low and as our streets get choked with vehicular traffic, it is an envy of commuters who are stuck in traffic.

In the Far East, it is the most preferred city vehicle and it is used extensively to carry both goods and people. Its running cost meets the pocket of most ordinary workers of both sexes and it is indeed a beautiful sight to see young office ladies riding to work. There is no problem with parking.

In America, it is considered classy and a trendy weekend or holiday sports vehicle. Motor Cycle clubs are formed to share in the joy of owning one. Right here in Ghana and particularly in the North, it is virtually the standard means of transport. The motorbike is a useful means of transport and its use is going to increase in the urban areas.

The use of the motor-cycle for crime has recently become a popular mode for a number of misguided youth, especially in the inner city. These crimes range from bag-snatching through armed robberies to the distribution of hard drugs from barons. Actually, the potential for its use even in assassination exists and it is just waiting to happen as these youth climb up the ladder of crime gathering more courage and experience.

I was recently amazed at how some of these indisciplined riders took total control of traffic on the Ring Road — precisely the Kwame Nkrumah Circle — in order to escort a dead colleague to the Awudome Cemetery in the full glare of the police. It was worth noting that almost all of the motor-cycles in question had no licence plates, the riders wore no helmets and I doubt if there was anything like insurance cover.

All these observations are blatant infringement of the road traffic regulations of our country. Where are we heading? Ordinary people feel so insecure about the impudence with which these criminals operate and get away with it. They can be seen on the same roads with us as they head for their operational grounds or return to their bases. But the police, with their powerful motorbikes, equipped with wailing sirens, look on unconcerned. They would rather be escorting some foreign dignitaries or some tourists and asking us the taxpayers by means of their sirens to make way for them.

All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good people (e.g. the police) to look the other way or be unconcerned. In the experience of most victims, the police have no help to offer but take a statement and ask you to come back again. But what can the police do? Here are few suggestions:

• The police, in conjunction with the DVLA, should put in place a system whereby all imported motor-bikes are, as a rule, licensed at the port of entry before they are released to the importers. Fictitious numbers can, of course, always be used by these miscreants but, at least, it is better than no licence plate at all.

• All unlicensed motor-bike owners in the country should be given up to December 31, this year, to be licensed or face forfeiture if arrested on the road. The police could do with more motor-bikes in their fleet to assist in their operations.

• A police squad specially trained to deal with this problem should be formed immediately. More men/women could be deployed into this squad, if they could reduce the numbers of those who are just checking vehicle papers on the road.

• The police should be vigilant by mounting random and snap road-blocks specifically for motor-cycles. I have never understood why the police prefer to mount road checks at fixed and designated places where they know very well that they can be avoided by people with criminal intentions. Regular swoops on motor-cycle dealers and mechanics could reveal fake licence plates, which are often used for their nefarious activities.

• All riders with pillion riders should attract special attention since most crimes are committed in pairs. Whenever any pair is stopped, body search for weapons and instruments of crime must be automatic and thorough.

• Petrol stations must be instructed not to sell fuel to unlicensed motor-bike riders.

None of the above suggestions would stop this kind of crime completely but it is expected that, in conjunction with other measures, they will definitely help to minimise this national threat.

If nothing is done, apart from the general sense of insecurity, our tourism trade can suffer profoundly and this country would be listed as an unsafe place.

................................

Crime made easy

By Ted Bernasko

THE motor-cycle is an efficient mode of transportation. Its fuel consumption is low and as our streets get choked with vehicular traffic, it is an envy of commuters who are stuck in traffic.

In the Far East, it is the most preferred city vehicle and it is used extensively to carry both goods and people. Its running cost meets the pocket of most ordinary workers of both sexes and it is indeed a beautiful sight to see young office ladies riding to work. There is no problem with parking.

In America, it is considered classy and a trendy weekend or holiday sports vehicle. Motor Cycle clubs are formed to share in the joy of owning one. Right here in Ghana and particularly in the North, it is virtually the standard means of transport. The motorbike is a useful means of transport and its use is going to increase in the urban areas.

The use of the motor-cycle for crime has recently become a popular mode for a number of misguided youth, especially in the inner city. These crimes range from bag-snatching through armed robberies to the distribution of hard drugs from barons. Actually, the potential for its use even in assassination exists and it is just waiting to happen as these youth climb up the ladder of crime gathering more courage and experience.

I was recently amazed at how some of these indisciplined riders took total control of traffic on the Ring Road — precisely the Kwame Nkrumah Circle — in order to escort a dead colleague to the Awudome Cemetery in the full glare of the police. It was worth noting that almost all of the motor-cycles in question had no licence plates, the riders wore no helmets and I doubt if there was anything like insurance cover.

All these observations are blatant infringement of the road traffic regulations of our country. Where are we heading? Ordinary people feel so insecure about the impudence with which these criminals operate and get away with it. They can be seen on the same roads with us as they head for their operational grounds or return to their bases. But the police, with their powerful motorbikes, equipped with wailing sirens, look on unconcerned. They would rather be escorting some foreign dignitaries or some tourists and asking us the taxpayers by means of their sirens to make way for them.

All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good people (e.g. the police) to look the other way or be unconcerned. In the experience of most victims, the police have no help to offer but take a statement and ask you to come back again. But what can the police do? Here are few suggestions:

• The police, in conjunction with the DVLA, should put in place a system whereby all imported motor-bikes are, as a rule, licensed at the port of entry before they are released to the importers. Fictitious numbers can, of course, always be used by these miscreants but, at least, it is better than no licence plate at all.

• All unlicensed motor-bike owners in the country should be given up to December 31, this year, to be licensed or face forfeiture if arrested on the road. The police could do with more motor-bikes in their fleet to assist in their operations.

• A police squad specially trained to deal with this problem should be formed immediately. More men/women could be deployed into this squad, if they could reduce the numbers of those who are just checking vehicle papers on the road.

• The police should be vigilant by mounting random and snap road-blocks specifically for motor-cycles. I have never understood why the police prefer to mount road checks at fixed and designated places where they know very well that they can be avoided by people with criminal intentions. Regular swoops on motor-cycle dealers and mechanics could reveal fake licence plates, which are often used for their nefarious activities.

• All riders with pillion riders should attract special attention since most crimes are committed in pairs. Whenever any pair is stopped, body search for weapons and instruments of crime must be automatic and thorough.

• Petrol stations must be instructed not to sell fuel to unlicensed motor-bike riders.

None of the above suggestions would stop this kind of crime completely but it is expected that, in conjunction with other measures, they will definitely help to minimise this national threat.

If nothing is done, apart from the general sense of insecurity, our tourism trade can suffer profoundly and this country would be listed as an unsafe place.

BERNSWETT COMPANY LTD ACCRA

By Ted Bernasko

Ted Bernasko
Ted Bernasko, © 2008

The author has 1 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: TedBernasko

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