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26.02.2009 General News

IGP pledges thorough probe of kids' mystery deaths

By The Ghanaian Times

The acting Inspector General of Police, Elizabeth Mills-Robertson, has stated the determination of Police Service to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of three children in an abandoned car at Achimota last Saturday.

She said the outcome of the investigations would determine the next line of action; whether or not to prefer charges against Mr Samuel Aguadze in whose house the car in which the children were trapped was parked.

Mrs Mills Robertson disclosed this to the Times in an interview yesterday after a group of four civil society organizations had called on her at the Police headquarters.

The group made up of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the Legal Aid Board, Centre for Democratic Development and the Media Foundation for West Africa, was led by Nana Oye Lithur of CHRI.

Mrs Mills Robertson described last Saturday's incident as very sad and stressed that while the police were conducting painstaking investigations to unearth the cause of death, parents should be alert and monitor their children's movement.

Nana Oye said the visit was to congratulate Mrs Mills-Robertson as the first woman to have attained the position of IGP and also discuss with the Police Administration some human rights issues that came into play in the discharge of duties of the police.

She said "as society keeps growing and democracy and good governance are deepened, there is the need to forge cordial relations between the police and society."

This will strengthen people's confidence in the police to enhance information flow from the public.

The group presented to the acting IGP copies of an assessment it had compiled about Police Service and suggestions to improve on their work.

The assessment said it was unfortunate that "lack of effective police accountability mechanism and inadequate training and resourcing have led to a Police Service too often characterized by corruption, illegal arrests and detentions, excessive use of force and failure to respond to complaints".

The assessment said despite the high profile and long-standing nature of the problems, there have been no more than limited, superficial reforms of the Police Service.

It suggested that the Police Intelligence and Professional Standard Bureau (PIPS) be decentralized to the regions, districts as well as police posts so that people can report cases there instead of traveling to the Police Headquarters in Accra where it is located.