Students in second cycle schools are prone to misbehaving under crowd situations, especially during sporting and other activities. It is something which did not start today. In curbing the consequences emanating from such engagements, however, law enforcement agents must be extra careful.
Any action to the contrary can visit negative consequences. A couple of days ago, the Kumasi Police were confronted with a difficult situation when students of the Kumasi Technical Institute following a clash with their colleagues blocked the route to their school.
The police reportedly moved in to clear the route resulting in the consequences which triggered this commentary. Pictures from the scene of the police response to their reported attack by the students was rather disturbing, the kind parents would not take kindly to no matter the causes.
It would appear that something went wrong in the manner the riotous situation was managed and unfortunately the police would have some queries to address.
Ghanaians would want to find out whether the appropriate procedures of engagement were applied by the law enforcement when they responded.
There are many instances for the law enforcement agents to refer to when addressing such situations and so when consequences of this magnitude are recorded, we are unable to allow the police to go scot-free.
The use of teargas the most appropriate means of quelling such riotous situations requires some skills and this the police very well know. Failure to be careful in the use of firing teargas can lead to fatal consequences.
We recall a similar incident when teargas which some do not know can kill when overused on suspected rioters, was administered on protesters at the Greater Accra Regional BNI offices in Accra. The consequence was fatal. A young man lost his life having been excessively exposed to the chemical.
It is our position therefore that in dealing with students irrespective of their conduct the police must be excessively cautious. The water cannon would have been most ideal.
Parents are agitated and would have to be placated under the circumstances lest the future records similar situations.
It is our position that a probe be ordered by the IGP. This way, the true picture of what happened would be painted and presented to the public, especially parents and students.
When it is glaring that the police response was the most appropriate under the circumstances parents, students and the general public would appreciate it and let bygone by bygone. If it is the contrary, those who were overboard should be punished.
Ignoring a probe when that is the best option now would be turning our backs on the terrible situation which erupted and continuing a rather inappropriate trend in the history of policing in recent times.
We are compelled under the circumstances to recall how the police managed a peaceful demonstration last year when thousands of NPP supporters marched towards the EC. The management of the situation was so bad that one of the demonstrators lost an eye when a cop directed a rubber bullet or so at the organ.
It was a terrible situation, especially after the police turned a blind eye on the victim. There was no probe because the police did not find it necessary, as well as the politicians at the helm at the time.
Responses to riotous situations need a major overhaul because the records so far are appalling.