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29.01.2009 General News

Journalists task Acting IGP to fast track Police Reforms

By GNA

The West Africa Network of Journalists for Security and Development (WANJSD) on Thursday called on the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mrs Elizabeth Mills-Robertson to urgently reform the police, detach it from the colonial mentality and direct it towards democratic policing.

In a statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Francis Ameyibor, WANJSD Deputy General Secretary, said the increasing crime wave demanded that security operations did not only focus on normal police practice, but also embraced the role of policing in relation to the government and governing institutions as well as the general public.

He described as worrying signals that some senior and junior officers were alleged to have compromised their professional standards in combating crime and involvement in partisan politics.

“These accordingly have hampered the Administration's efforts to combat activities of social deviants, as serious crime continues to permeate both urban and rural communities.

“Incidents of armed robbery, rape, burglary, assaults, auto theft, murder, drug trafficking, fraud, bribery with alleged tacit involvement of some police personnel continue to attract media coverage on a daily basis,” Mr. Ameyibor noted.

He urged the Acting IGP to weed out criminal elements within the Police Service whose activities continued to erode public confidence and undermine the Police Administration's credibility and integrity.

Mr. Ameyibor noted that Mrs. Mills-Robertson's commitment to reduce crime would be a mirage, unless she immediately redeemed the image of the current police systems.

“Public sentiments and attitude towards police officials have deteriorated…it is therefore imperative for the Police Administration to go through drastic reforms to build its public image,” Mr Ameyibor emphasised.

He explained that under the current democratic governance, Police officers must conduct themselves in a way compatible with constitutional governments, by adhering to appropriate guidance and democratic principles in law enforcement.

The WANJSD Deputy General Secretary reminded the IGP that the police remained critical to the protection of human rights, safety and security of all Ghanaians, “but history has also shown that the police can be abused by the rulers and made to violate the rights of citizens with impunity….This must not happen again”.

He therefore called for all-encompassing policing which should aim at reviewing their legal framework to ensure that it satisfied the requirements of democratic governance for effective governmental and non-governmental mechanism for accountability.

To enhance the capacity and legitimacy of police officials, Mr Ameyibor urged the Acting IGP to initiate measures to build the professional intelligence and investigative capacity of personnel; operational professionalism and efficiency; planning and research; supervision and motivational rewards; responsiveness and civility in relating to citizens.

“There is no doubt that the police need to be effective and efficient in both administrative and operational duties, otherwise they and the government will lose public confidence.”

Mr Ameyibor also urged the Government and the Police Administration to muster the political and operational will to implement the recommendations contained in the Five-Year Strategic Document, which seeks to provide among others far-reaching reforms, including the new Disciplinary Code, the Police Service Administration Regulation and Conditions of Service, to brighten the career prospects of the entire staff of the service.

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