THE GHANA Police Service has come under intense fire and bombardment as a result of recent developments in the country in general and the Service in particular, giving rise to questions about the relevance of the “Integrity” attached to their cherished motto “Service With Integrity”.
The worry of many Ghanaians was necessitated by the performance of the men and women of this noble profession called Policing.
A worried Ghanaian who had lived abroad for many years and returned to the country recently was treated like a criminal by the police. He was slapped by a policeman hard on the face because he allegedly 'joined' the President's convoy, pretending to be part of the convoy. Interestingly, it wasn't just the slap but by the time the 'stars' had cleared off his face, his car was ransacked with some 'green' “In God We Trust” notes going missing. And the culprit? The people who are supposed to be the protector of the people. In his frustrations, the victim asked, “where is the 'integrity' you promised us?”
If I want to catalogue the numerous allegations and all the 'kominis', I doubt if this page would have enough room to accommodate it. But the few that I have 'give I thee'.
It is in this country that it was reported that a police officer at the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and his cronies went on an illegal 'operation' to virtually rob an innocent person of his hard-earned currencies only to turn round and say the man was a drug trafficker. Upon hearing the news, many people became worried over the sinking image of one of the noblest professions in the world.
The image of the Police Service came to its lowest ebb during the infamous cocaine saga. It was like the salt that had lost its taste and had to be trampled upon. The backlash, bad-mouthing by the public and the deepening of the 'ink' by the 'konkonsa' people during the trial of the 'cocaine mafia' was unprecedented. At the centre of it all was this fine gentleman - a senior police officer whose charisma could make a woman go berserk in her 'groin' while his physique could make a criminal confess before thinking 'twice'.Unfortunately, no matter how hard the police tried to disentangle themselves from that disgrace, the 'harder de come' it was for them as Jimmy Cliff would put it.
The worst part of it was when the 'headmaster' of the Ghana Police Service; the epitome of the Ghana Police; the embodiment of all respect; the custodian of integrity and the symbol of authority; was implicated in the 'black Friday' of the Service. The accusation, counter-accusation and 'you-bit-me-I-bit-you' continued unabated in 'our minds' because the 'Jeorgina Fire-Wood' Committee set up to 'drink tea or cognac' at the expense of the nation, instead of investigating the matter, created more confusion in our heads.
In fact, my confusion went topsy-turvy, making the little 'animal' in my head to believe that the “Freedom and Justice” is for the highest bidder. If you are a 'shiabii' in this 'land of our birth', forget it! No wonder the 'Shiabii' policeman who was given the mandate with the keys to 'police' the whole world's parcels of whitish 'substance believed to be cocaine' had been languishing in 'sankpori' because he 'slept on duty' for the 'thiefman-to-thief-thiefman'.
According to sources, the man said 'walahi' he never 'sleep sleep'; he 'super-glued' his eyelids to avoid 'accidental sleep' for he never trusted his own 'kin and kith'. When I heard that, I laughed because if he did not know, we have something we call 'mental' sleep. Go and ask Mr Ibu. No matter what you do to yourself, when sleep wants to play its tricks on you, you would be 'gazing in vain'. How would you explain to a kindergarten that you are innocent when under your own 'joseph-cat's eye, those 'white gold' either vanished into thin air or turned into 'face-de-wall' - kokonte powder when you were made the 'gate-keeper', the custodian of the keys to the 'Holy Sepulcher'?
There had been cases of exhibits missing from police stations or some policemen (the women have distinguished themselves so far) stealing the exhibits and refusing to tender them in courts or to hand them over to their lawful owners after the courts had given orders to that effect. But for a whole 'cargo' of cocaine to get missing or turn into kokonte at no less a place than the big Headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service is mind-boggling. I had the opportunity to see the room where the substances were kept and cannot therefore fathom what kind of 'juju and tricks' were used to sweep that room clean of its contents. Is someone being made a victim of circumstances and like the 'sacrificial lamb', sent to the slaughter house to take away the sins of the rest?
At a period in time, the number of 'bungalowbii' class developing in the Police Service was alarming. The Police Service used to be a place where distinguished men and women who had served their nation with real 'integrity' retired and 'extinguished'. They went home with 'integrity' but died like paupers because the ex-gratia did not take them into their homes. It only reached the gate!
Today, many of our Service personnel have 'learned' lessons from those who retired with 'integrity' but did not survive on it and vowed to 'do-something-before-they-die'. To such people, 'integrity' can go to hell! They have carried the animalistic instinct of 'survival of the fittest' to the brim and had sold their souls and integrity to the devil and unleashed terror on innocent people.
How on earth would a policeman with a Service uniform be arrested with a gang of armed robbers, who had gone on robbery spree? There have been many cases of weapons going missing in the police armoury and had found their way into the hands of armed robbers. Police complicity in high-profile robbery cases, land litigations and other social problems have never been in doubt.
This piece is not by any stretch of imagination saying that the whole Police Service is laden with people without integrity. What I seek to do is to re-echo the assertion that “one bad nut” spoil the 'abenkwa'. The few bad nuts have cast the Police Service into a bad light and have created the impression that every policeman is bad! The fragrant disrespect for human rights, extortion and all manner of accusations have become the order of the day. I have used this same platform to commend the Police Service before and therefore using it to draw attention to some of the 'rot' in it is not out of place.
I think the way forward is to tighten the recruitment process. All candidates should be medically tested for hard-drugs usage. Those already in the Service should be periodically screened for drugs and those found to be using drugs should be expelled and made to face the law. There are many of the policemen who are on drugs and they have been the woes of the Police Service. They need to be 'weeded' out or they would be found with 'wee'. Let's have a clean Police Service as used to be the case in the days of old. It's not too late to salvage the integrity and glory of the finest Police Service on the continent. I shall always be proud of the Ghana Police Service because they have integrity.