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14 June 2017 | Editorial

Police Personnel On Guard, Patrol Duties Must Be Provided With Bullet Proof Vests

Ghanaian Chronicle

At the recent news conference addressed by both the police and the military to brief Ghanaians on the investigation being conducted into the death of Major Mahama, the Inspector General of Police announced that general crime rate in the country was going down. He went ahead to give statistics to support his argument.

The Chronicle does not intend to challenge his claim, we are, however, worried over the recent killings of security officers in the country. Apart from the gruesome murder of Major Maxwell Mahama, a police officer was also shot and killed by armed robbers whilst escorting a bus from Kumasi to Tamale. Another policeman was, this time round, accidentally shot and killed by a colleague officer.

As if this is not enough, the Tema Regional Police Command is reporting the death of Constable Michael Kporyi, who was found dead in a bush near Michel Camp with multiple gun wounds. According to an eyewitness account, Kporyi was on his bike patrolling the area when two gun men riding a motorbike opened fire and killed him. When police kill innocent Ghanaians in a careless way, the media, including The Chronicle, is always quick to condemn the act. The recent killings of the security men, to us, deserve the same attention and condemnation.

The fight against crime, especially, armed robbery, is always dangerous, and the police administration and the government know that. But, nothing has been done over the years to provide bullet proof vests for our police men and women who go on patrol duties.  The Chronicle has written severally on this subject, but because those who take decisions are not part of the personnel deployed on patrol duties, they don't see the purchase of the bullet proof vests as a top priority.

A little search we conducted on the internet revealed that prices of bullet proof vests range between $10 and $200. Are these prices beyond the means of the State called Ghana that we cannot afford to purchase them? The government was able to dole out a whopping GH¢51 million to an individual called Alfred Woyome without blinking an eye.

The Auditor General Reports are also replete with various kinds of corruption. In short, government resources are dissipated with careless abandon, but raising a few dollars to buy bullet proof vests for the police is problematic for us as a nation.

As we earlier indicated, fighting armed robbers is very dangerous, because they (robbers) see the police as their number one nemesis, which is trying to deprive them of their daily bread. They would, therefore, move heaven and earth to get them eliminated. This is why the state must always consider the welfare of the police officer paramount, but this is not what we are seeing. Sometime ago, policemen and women on guard duties at the various banks in the country became targets for armed robbers.  The miscreants indeed succeeded in killing most of the officers, because, apart from the guns they hold, they do not have any other protection.

The Chronicle understands the police administration has a few of these bulletproof vests, but hardly are they given out to officers who embark upon dangerous operations, including fighting armed robbers.  The lives of the police officers we are discussing would have probably been protected if they were wearing these bullet proof vests. The pains personnel of the Police Service are going through are enormous, but none of the human right advocacy groups in Ghana has ever raised concern about their plight. Unfortunately, anytime a policeman or woman kills an innocent Ghanaian, they hop from one radio station to the other, raising human right flags calling for the blood of the erring officer.

The Chronicle is not condoning any senseless killing, but if we are quick to attack the police over some of these infractions, then we must equally be eager to condemn those who see the security men as enemies who must be eliminated.

The same human rights groups should also put pressure on the government to ensure the procurement of the bullet proof vests for serving personnel. The way junior officers of the   Police Service, who are victims of these killings, are being treated, is simply unfair. We are, therefore, appealing to President Akufo-Addo to look into the issue we have raised, and use his good offices to procure enough bullet proof vests for the Police Service.

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