Accra, Feb 23, GNA- Interior Minister Papa Owusu-Ankoma, on his maiden official interaction with senior officers and personnel of the Ghana Police Service has challenged the Service to declare an all-out war on armed robbery and other criminal activities over the next few months. He lauded the arrest of one of the kingpins of armed robbery and re-echoed the concern of the public on the increasing armed robbery activities of armed robbers in the country, saying citizens of Ghana should be free from the activities of such nation wreckers.
"I want peace-loving Ghanaians and other residents to go about their daily activities without any disturbance from such nation wreckers. ....Ghana should continue to be the peaceful country which we all want it to be," Papa Owusu -Ankoma said.
The Interior Minister threw the challenge at a durbar of the top senior officers and personnel of the Service after inspecting some of the development projects being undertaken at the Police Headquarters, in Accra, to improve the performance of the Service.
He said loyalty to the Government was very critical if the Service was to play its role as custodians of law and order well and called on the Service to regard policing as a profession to which they were dedicated rather than a vocation and redeem negative public perception about it due to "some bad apples."
"We should be each other's keeper as we decide that over the next four years we are going to turn around this poor perception for the Service, Papa Owusu -Ankoma said, and cautioned that Police officers and personnel who acted with party affiliations would be appropriately dealt with.
He said the Government expected the Service to be a disciplined institution, and would not condone any acts that bred indiscipline, reminding the police rank and file to stop resorting to the media rather than laid down systems to settle scores.
"Let's us stop managing the Ghana Police Service in the media-it does nor augur well for the country."
Papa Owusu-Ankoma said the commitment to duty shown by Police personnel in peacekeeping operations outside the country, recognised by the United Nations, transcend the manner policing was done in Ghana. He announced that Government had approved in principle, a communication system for the Service, which would become operational during the year, adding that a technical team was expected from South Africa next week to fix the communication equipment and light bars on the 75 vehicles imported from that country under the Paramount Logistics Company of South Africa.
Nana Owusu-Nsiah, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) said accommodation was still a problem despite Government efforts and the Police Administration at solving the problem.
"Whilst some of the personnel still make do with our stuffy 18th Century buildings, others are cramped up in single rooms, allowing little ventilation. Many of these, which were designed for individual bachelors, are now accommodating multiple families.
"Worse still, a large chunk of our budgetary allocations goes into the payment of hotel bills of officers on posting or duty but cannot get official accommodation."
The IGP said, though the Service had received 400 vehicles over the past two years, it was still faced with accommodation problems, and about 1000 more vehicles might be needed. He entreated the Interior Minister to take a critical look at the earlier submissions in respect of the specifications in the transport requirements of the Service.
The IGP also condemned a canker of anonymous letter writing in the Service and re-echoed the admonition of the Minister for individuals or groups to route their grievances through the appropriate channels for redress.
In an open forum, an officer requested an order from Government to cause a survey and publication of a recent map of Accra, roads, isolated and new communities to facilitate a prompt response to calls.
Earlier before the durbar, Nana Owusu- Nsiah had been taken on a tour of the Quartermasters Store-room, the 18 single-room two-storey Headquarters Office Mess project, the 16 single room hostel project, the gymnasium, the three-storey junior ranks mess at Cantonments, which were all under various stages of construction, nearing completion and other offices at the Headquarters.