Mr William Aboah, Interior Minster interacting with the IGP, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye and other police officers during the Minister's visit to the Police Headquarters The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has given an assurance that the Ghana Police Service is poised to undertake its duties professionally and deal decisively with any person or group of persons who breach any law of the country before, during and after the December 2012 general election.
“We in the Police Service will do everything within our power to jealousy and religiously protect this peace by effectively and efficiently discharging our duties under the Constitution without fear or favour,”Ghana's IGP, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, said.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the maiden visit of the Minister of the Interior to the Police Headquarters in Accra Wednesday, the IGP said notwithstanding the few but serious security challenges across the country, including those relating to the ongoing biometric voters registration exercise, Ghana was at peace with itself.
According to him, all commanders at the regional, divisional, district and unit levels were well-informed of their responsibilities and they had been directed to be conscious of their professional approach to law enforcement in the run-up to the elections.
He urged all Ghanaians to respect and use the existing police structures in addressing all grievances and assured the people that the service would not discriminate against any person or group of persons, adding that the police would not be biased towards any political grouping but continue to demonstrate their neutrality and stay glued to their legally accepted position of being accountable to the law and the people of Ghana.
The assurance given by the IGP came, among other things, on the heels of some criticisms against the performance of the police.
While some members of some political parties hold the view that the police have failed in their duty to control the violence associated with the biometric voters registration exercise, others think that the police have compromised their neutrality and professionalism.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) recently called on the IGP to resign because “he is not on top of his job”.
In a statement issued by its General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the NPP expressed deep concern about the string of unfortunate statements being issued by the IGP, the latest being that the police would remain neutral in the discharge of their duties in the ongoing biometric voters registration exercise.
Recently, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Joseph Yammin, alleged that the Tafo Pankrono District Police Commander, Superintendent Kwesi Ofori, had connived with the NPP in the Ashanti Region to register minors and intimidate members of the NDC.
But Supt Ofori dismissed the claims that he had been compromised by the NPP, saying that he was not a politician and did not engage in politics.
In another instance, the NDC served notice that it would not continue to work with the Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), ACP Angwubutuge Awuni, and called for his removal or transfer.
The party was reacting to the alleged maltreatment of the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Osu Klottey and former Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashietey, by ACP Awuni at a registration centre.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the NDC, Mr Ade Coker, who served the notice at a news conference in Accra, stated that ACP Awuni acted unprofessionally and ought to be shown the exit from the Greater Accra Region.
Without making references to the concerns raised by both the NDC and the NPP, the IGP indicated that the perception being created by a certain group of people in society that the police were biased, partial and unprofessional was very unfortunate.
He assured those people that the police were professionals and would continue to remain calm and discharge their constitutional responsibilities in the face of the unwarranted provocation.
“Nobody should, therefore, misconstrue our calmness as a sign of weakness; for those comments will not in any way daunt our resolve to stay committed in ensuring that we enforce the laws of the land fairly and professionally without regard to position, power, religion, social or political status,” he stated.
He noted that the maintenance of peace and security was a shared responsibility and what was needed, therefore, was the active and constructive co-operation of all stakeholders towards peaceful elections.
Mr Quaye was hopeful that the various other components of the criminal justice system would play their roles to support the police accordingly.
He also appealed to the National Media Commission, the Ghana Journalists Association, the Independent Broadcasters Association, the Editors Forum and other civil society organisations to support the police and ensure sanity on the media front of the country.
For his part, Interior Minster, Mr William Kwesi Aboah, announced that national, regional and district task forces would soon be established to co-ordinate the activities of all the security agencies which would be involved in the elections.
He indicated that the ongoing registration exercise was part of activities towards the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for December 2012, stressing that such an important national exercise should be of real concern to the police on whose shoulders lay the responsibility of ensuring peace and security, he said.
Mr Aboah noted, however, that in the effort to ensure peace and stability, the police would always face the unpleasant spectacle of being accused of bias in one way or another.
He announced that Cabinet and Parliament had given approval for the purchase of several equipment under a 50 million euro facility from BNP Paribas, a French credit facility.
The equipment include 1,110 pick-ups and saloon cars,100 heavy motorbikes, 1,000 walkie talkies, two cabin patrol cutters, four high-speed interceptor boats for the newly established maritime unit, several ballistic vests, protective helmets, bulletproof vests and ballistic plates.
Mr Aboah said fully trained maritime police personnel would be located at various positions along Ghana’s coastline to assist in protecting the shore and the oil industry.
He said problems encountered in connection with the Police Hospital development project had been resolved and negotiations had reached an advanced stage for the contractors, the International Hospital Group (IHG), to soon resume work.