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24.07.2009 Editorial

Whilst supporting the Police, they must also…

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The Police on Tuesday, this week, in Accra, shot dead two suspected armed robbers. This brings to eleven, the number of armed robbers killed within a week. The first was recorded in the Ashanti region where eight suspected highway robbers were gunned down after engaging the police in a shoot out.

Human rights activists have criticized the police for using excessive force in their battle with the robbers. To them, the police should try and arrest the suspected armed robbers instead of shooting to kill them. When these Human right activists were moving from one radio station to the other and condemning the police, we used this very column to disagree with their action.

We argued that the police are also human, who have families that depend on them, and therefore they would not allow the armed robbers to shoot at them first, while they are also armed with guns. With particular reference to the killings that took place in the Ashanti region, we contended that if the suspected robbers had surrendered to the police when they arrived at the crime scene, the latter would not have been so wicked to shoot at them.

We further argued that killing is against God's commandments, but if the robbers are determined to take the lives of the policemen and women, then they also have every right to defend themselves.

Whilst The Chronicle supports the police in the face of the criticisms from the human rights groups, we wish to caution that they must also be cautious when confronted with such a situation.

Never should Ghanaians wake up one morning to hear or read that stray bullets from the police have killed an innocent person.

As we noted in our previous editorial, the police have every right to protect their lives, but in so doing they must make sure that they shoot on target. If the robbers are found in the midst of people, the tactical way is to withdraw, because any attempt to respond to their firing would result in many fatalities. They could, for instance, call for re-enforcement to surround the place and use tactical means to disarm and arrest the robbers. AK 47 assault riffle is a powerful weapon and therefore one needs to be careful when using it at a place where a lot of people have gathered.

This country can never attract the needed foreign investment if armed robbers continued to terrorize the people, that is why we are happy with the war that the police have waged against these social miscreants, but that does not also mean that the police should not be cautious in their fight against the criminals.

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