THE MINISTER for the Interior, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor has announced that he has requested for some of the housing units under construction by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to be allocated to the Ghana Police Service to help solve their acute accommodation problem.
He disclosed that 200 units of flats have so far been allocated to the Police in the Greater Accra region.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia made this known while answering a question posed by the MP for Sefwi-Akontombra, Hon. Herod Cobbina on the floor of Parliament yesterday as to what plans the Ministry of the Interior has to increase the numbers of Police personnel to adequately take care of the new Sewfi-Akontombra district.
He mentioned that his Ministry had initiated action to redevelop selected lands belonging to the security services including the Ghana Police Service and in the case of the Police Service it is nationwide, beginning with Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Sekondi/Takoradi.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor pleaded with the MPs to, in the interim, take up the issue of accommodation of the Police with District Assemblies to provide the needed dwelling units to enable the Police Administration post personnel to the districts.
He indicated that the police building project at Ashaiman had been abandoned for some time now due to budgetary constraints, adding that the cost of completing the Police quarters in Ashaiman was estimated at GH¢1,300,000 and this has been captured in the budget estimate for 2009.
As part of measures to enhance the effectiveness of the Police Service, the Minister told the House that the Police Administration under the Exim Bank of India facility and Paramount Logistics Corporation of South Africa has in the past two years taken delivery of 403 vehicles.
He said he would ask the Police Administration to allocate one of the vehicles to the Sefwi-Akontombra Police station, after Hon. Cobbina again asked him when the Interior Ministry will allocate a vehicle to the station.
On the issue of recruitment, Dr. Addo-Kufuor stated that the Police Administration has embarked on a recruitment exercise aimed at increasing the staff strength of the Police Service.
According to him, between January 2007 and October 2008, 4,075 policemen were recruited, trained and are awaiting postings, but unfortunately, lack of accommodation was holding up their posting to stations needing their services.
On the illicit drug menace in the country, Dr. Addo-Kufuor noted that with the current increase in shipment and trafficking of narcotic drugs to the West African sub-region, it has become necessary for the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to establish offices in other West African countries including Ghana.
Currently the DEA has its office in Lagos, Nigeria to cover many West African countries.
The objectives of establishing a DEA office in Ghana, according to the Minister, are to reduce the pressure on the Lagos office as well as make Ghana the Head Office for some countries in the sub-region which are yet to be determined.
Others are to lend support to the Drug Law Enforcement Agencies such as the Narcotics Control Board, Ghana Police Service, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, and collaborate with other donor partners in order not to duplicate efforts in the fight against illicit drug trafficking.
According to Dr. Addo-Kufuor, the Kotoka International Airport is no longer a safe route for drug barons as a result of the collaborative partnership between Ghana's security agencies on one hand and DEA and Operation West-Bridge, a British anti-narcotic drug operation, on the other, to curb the incidence of drug trafficking in the country.
By Awudu Mahama