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17.02.2009 Editorial

Don't politicise Police Service

By

The Public Agenda reported yesterday that over one hundred police men and women of the Very Very Important Person Unit (VVIPU) of the Ghana Police Service, who served as bodyguards of ex President Kufuor, his Vice Alhaji Mahama and Ministers of State, have been asked to stay at home pending redeployment.

The paper interpreted the situation to mean that the affected policemen and women are on the verge of losing their jobs. The paper quoted the former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Akoto Osei, as saying that the redundancy of the affected policemen and women was very unfortunate, because the Police service itself lacked adequate personnel.

When the publication hit the newsstand, the Director of Public Affairs at the Police headquarters, ASP Kwesi Ofori went on air to announce that the said police personnel have not been sacked and that they have been redeployed to other units of the service.

The Chronicle hopes that Kwesi Ofori is feeding the public with the correct information, but if the opposite, as being alleged by Hon. Akoto Osei is the case, then it would be a very unfortunate decision. The Police Service, by law, is supposed to be a non-partisan institution- meaning that all personnel of the service are also supposed to be non-partisan. We, therefore, do not understand why the affected personnel should be asked to stay at home just because there is a change of government.

To us, the excuse that they are being redeployed does not hold water, because they are trained personnel who can fit into any position in the service, whenever they are asked to do so. The Chronicle is raising this concern because if care is not taken and such a bad precedence is allowed to stay, it would not augur well for the police service as an institution, and for the country as a whole. If any police officer deployed to either guard the Presidency or Ministers of State would be tagged as a sympathiser of the ruling party, then we can confidently say that this situation would not promote unity in our security services.

If a new government feels that it cannot work with the old police guards, it has the right to request for new ones from the Police administration without creating the impression that the old guards were sympathisers of its predecessor government, and therefore, cannot work with them. Any attempt to politicise the security services would be very dangerous for the security of this country, and that is why we are calling on the government to tread cautiously on this issue, in order to avoid the creation of any negative perception.

We believe that if the affected personnel had been deployed to other units immediately they were released from the Castle, this hullabaloo wouldn't have arisen in the first place.

Security men are professional people and must be seen as such.

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