09.03.2005 Regional News

Emergency conference for Regional Police Commanders opens

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Accra, March 9, GNA - The Minister of the Interior, Papa Owusu-Ankomah on Wednesday warned that the Government would no longer tolerate the activities of individuals or group of persons, who wished to destabilise the country and stifle efforts towards the achievement of development goals.

He, therefore, urged the Police Administration to be more robust, resolute and relentless in the war against criminals and ensure that there was maximum peace and security in the country.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who was addressing an emergency conference of Regional Police Commanders in Accra, said it was time for the Police administration to be more proactive, innovative to take pre-emptory action against criminal elements in the society.

He, however, commended the Police Administration for their efforts in clamping down the notorious armed robbers such as "Ataa Ayi" and members of his gang, calming the situation in the Kumasi Metropolis, where some notorious groups of persons had been harassing traders and legitimate businessmen and many more.

"We ought not to allow this country to be held to ransom by a few misguided elements and I wish to emphasise that the advantage the Police has over these criminals is its ability to detect crime and apprehend perpetrators," he said.

He urged the Police not to relent on its efforts, since criminals were daily devising new ways of outwitting the law.

He mentioned drug trafficking and peddling, which was gradually gaining roots in the country, adding that Ghana was loosing credibility as it had been recognised as the transit point for narcotic drugs.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah stated that he had recently received a letter from Ghana's High Commissioner in London to the effect that six interceptions of illicit drugs concealed in boxes of vegetables were exported from Ghana.

He said the goods were carried by Air Ghana through the Kotoka International Airport and if the necessary and immediate remedial measures were not taken, it would further worsen the credibility of Ghana, whose goods had been classified as high risk and now had to go through physical examination.

The Minister, however, stated that the Government was committed to the provision of resources and logistics that would enhance effective policing in the country.

"Government is making every effort to ensure that prosecution and trials of persons engaged in armed robbery as well as drug trafficking and peddling were conducted as speedily as possible, depending on the quick completion of investigations," he said.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah said the final report after the conference, would serve as a guide on how to fight the souring criminal activities in the country.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah, Inspector General of Police (IGP), expressed concern about the rising incidence of gross indiscipline among officers of the Police Service and called for a rigid enforcement of the Police dressing code.

He stated that while the unique Police service uniform represented an identification and great symbol of authority, it was unacceptable for some personnel to create their own designed uniforms and make additions. He noted that some officers had devised their own code of dressing outside those approved by the Police Service and that while some carry offensive weapons like knives and bayonets on their belts, others wore offensive and un-prescribed dark glasses while in uniform.

The appearance of some personnel was so frightening that they rather scared civilians they had sworn to serve," he said.

The IGP further condemned the practice of anonymous letter writing in the Polices service and said any personnel, who had a concern should pass through the traditional channels of addressing grievances and entreated all Commanders to hold regular welfare meetings to explain policy issues to personnel so as to disabuse their minds of misconceptions.

He stated that though accommodation problems of the Service were being tackled on all fronts, it continued to be a major welfare problem.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah, however, said the State Housing Company had completed a total of 43 houses out of the 79 to be constructed for the Service, adding that the rest were still under construction and when completed would be handed over to officers in need of accommodation.

He, however, noted that some residential accommodations had not been properly utilised, as some officers who had left their official accommodations for their own private buildings had turned over those residences to family members.

"This is against the regulations of the Service and I am directing all Commanders to cause a physical room census and residential status and allocation and occupation of residential accommodation to check whether they were done according to Service instructions." He said a comprehensive report on the exercise should be submitted at the end of March.

The IGP said while the Service spent huge sums of money on hotel bills for transferred officers without immediate accommodation, it had considered the construction of hostels and guesthouses through out the country to reduce such expenses.

He said the Police Administration had started the project in Accra and Kumasi and would further establish occupational centres in all the regional capitals.

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