02.06.2004 General News

Police presence during election would be limited - IGP

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Accra, June 2, GNA - The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Nana Owusu-Nsiah has said that the Police would be able to cover 80 per cent of the 20,000 polling stations during Election 2004 due to inadequate number of officers and logistics.

He said the coverage would include the stations in areas commonly referred to as "flash points", where problems were likely to arise. Nana Owusu-Nsiah made the remark at a day's consultative seminar, organised by the Council of State in conjunction with the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), on the theme: "Towards Peaceful, Free and Fair Election 2004; Consultations with Political Parties and Other Stakeholders".

Speaking on: "Security during Election 2004", The IGP said in spite of the constraints, the Police, in collaboration with other security agencies was ready, hopeful, confident and well focused on maintaining peace and order in the county, before, during and after the elections.

"We are resolved to be very professional, neutral and civil in the performance of our statutory functions of maintaining peace and order and the protection of life and property during the elections," he said.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah said under the auspices of the National Security Coordinator, a National Oversight Committee (NOC), had been formed to coordinate security operations during the elections, adding that the NOC had sub-committees, which were working on contingency plans to deal with any unforeseen circumstances in their respective areas of responsibility.

He said to ensure efficiency in the operations of the security services during the elections the Police Administration had demarcated the entire country into six zones and provided each zone with a Scheduled Officer.

"These Scheduled Officers and the District Police Commanders have met with the various political parties, chiefs and other opinion leaders and civil societies within their areas of jurisdiction and useful suggestions and local initiatives have been worked out with these stakeholders to support the structures put in place by the Electoral Commission (EC)," he said.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah, however, pointed out that much of the responsibility of ensuring violence-free elections would depend on the political parties themselves, saying that, "Police action between now and probably December 6 to December 9 could only succeed if the political parties themselves educated their officials and supporters adequately on the strategies of organising a peaceful elections." He said the most desirable way of policing elections was self-regulation and respect for the laws of the land and for the rules of the game as set out by the EC.

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