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October 30, 2018 | Feature Article

Will President Akufo-Addo’s Love For The Ghana Police Go 'Unrequited'?

President Nana Akufo- Addo
President Nana Akufo- Addo

PRESIDENT Akufo- Addo was “fulfilling” an undertaking he had earlier made to the Ghana Police, when he handed over 200 motor-cars to the Service on 26 October 2018.

At a short ceremony at the Police headquarters in Accra, the President re-affirmed his administration's commitment “to build an impeccable Police Force” dedicated to ensuring “the safety and security of Ghanaians”.

The Government wanted the Force to be capable of “maintaining the territorial integrity of the country”, the President said. It

Would therefore “continue to mobilize whatever assistance it could to enable the Police give the people the kind of service they deserve".

The President‘s words must have sounded like music to the ears of the personnel of the Ghana Police Service. For it has,

Over the years, been complaining about (1) the lack of transport to take the police to crime scenes to detect criminal activity and offer protection to those under threat;

(2) The inadequacy of their communications facilities; and (3) the failure of the authorities to supply them even with mundane stationery (including paper on which complainants can write their statements!)

Also, because policemen and women are often overtaxed with bureaucratic or “red tape” duties, they create delays in their professional functions. Investigations never end and complainants and prospective witnesses alike are antagonized as they are told to “go and come… go and come!”

Inadequate equipping, in particular, can expose the Force to ridiculous breaches of security.

For instance:
QUOTE:
Thieves break into armoury at Police Station

Date: 24-10-2018
“Police have stepped up a manhunt for the suspectswho broke into the armoury of a police station at Daboya, in the Northern Region,[who] made away with guns and [some rounds of] ammunition….

The robbers stole the guns after the only policeman who was on duty went home to rest, claiming he was unwell. UNQUOTE

The question that comes to mind is this: did the lone policeman at the station not have access to a mobile phone or other means of communication with which to report his illness to his bosses (wherever they were!) so that they could arrange for another policeman to go and relieve him?

How easy is it to break into a police armoury, in any case? Are the Ghana Police not aware that terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, sometimes obtain their murderous weapons from attacks on police stations?

ANOTHER QUOTE:
Date, 22 January 2018
“The latest police attack in the country was atKwabenya where an officer was shot dead.

“The escape of seven suspects from the Kwabenya Police Station … has set many asking whether the police, who are tasked with ensuring the safety of Ghanaians, are themselves capable of ensuring their own safety.”

QUOTE: 2 suspects escape from Asiwa Police Station

“Two suspects in police custody at the Asiwa Police station at Bekwai, in the Ashanti Region, [have] escaped…. They were arrested for engaging in illegal mining [galamsey] and theft of some excavators, but they escaped after using some tools to break metal bars in their cells.

“[This] cell-break came three days after a similar incident happened at the Tepa Police station, also in the Ashanti Region and brought tothree, the number of jailbreaks in the Region, in in three months.

QUOTE:
DATE: August 2017
Five escape from OfankorPolice cell
“The Police [are] on a manhunt for five criminals who escaped from police custody at the Ofankor Police Station in Accra.

They were under investigation for various … crimes, including armed robbery and stealing. [They] managed to escape …through the ceiling of the toilet in their [cell]”

QUOTE:
DATE September 2013
Murder suspect escapes from police cell in Bongo

“Anyagre Atinga-Dombire (aka Labista), a murder suspect, escaped from his prison cell at Bongo in the Upper East Region where he was being held on remand… After being processed [to be taken to] court on September 18, 2013, the suspect mysteriously escaped from his Bongo prison cell.” A similar jailbreak occurred at Tumu, in the Upper West Region.

But no doubt the most shameless example of police negligence, or collusion with criminals -- or both -- occurred in the Amansie West District of Ashanti.

QUOTE:
Date 8 October 2018
“The Excavator Tracking Task Force of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining [IMCIM] … arrested a Chinese [man] and six Ghanaians at the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region for engaging ingalamsey.

The [arrested men] were handed over to the Amansie West Police. However, the six Ghanaians surprisingly escaped from police custody

“The Chinese suspect [did not escape and was to] be handed over to the Ghana Immigration Service.

“Items seized from the suspects included five pump-action guns, [many rounds of] ammunition, CCTV monitors, a recorder and some quantities of sand containing gold ore…

“The suspects [were carrying out] galamsey under the pretext of reclaiming some mined out areas in the Amansie West District. [When the Task Force left for further operations and later] returned to

The Police Station, they did not meet any of the police personnelwho [earlier] took custody of the suspects, while the six Ghanaians were reported to have escaped from custody. UNQUOTE

“At [one] mining site, some police personnel came… to cause the arrest of [Task Force members] upon a request by one of the galamseyers. UNQUOTE

Now, that this can still happen in a country where the President has proclaimed publicly that he would much rather give up his position than to look on unconcerned while his country’s rivers and food farms are being destroyed for generations yet unborn, by galamseyers,a degree of unawareness of the Government’s anti-galamseycampaign must exist in some members of the police personnel. And it is extremely baffling.

I believe strongly that the President’s staff mustquerythe Minister of the Interior on the briefing – or the lack of briefing that has occurred in the echelons of the Police as a Force, with regard to

“Operation Vanguard.” After all, the Police contributed no less than half of the personnel of Operation Vanguard. So, shouldn’t it be axiomatic those policemen left at their stations would know what their own colleagues in Operation Vanguard are doing? And why!

Okay -- the President has given the Police Service 200 cars as the beginning of an effort to re-equip it.

Now, the Service could use these vehicles to improve its services to the public, or allow a few privileged senior officers to commandeer the vehicles for joy rides for themselves, their families and their girl-friends.

The Service owes it to itself not to allow that to happen. For if such anomalies occur, we do live in a democracy and those of our MPs who are alert enough will get wind of it and raise hell. Our journalists will also – hopefully -- be watching the Service with eagles’ eyes.

Our President has, in popular parlance, “shown his love” for the Police Service.

It is up to the Police to return that love. The Service, as a whole, should not let this love story be added to those in the book of – “unrequited love”! For that would surely be -- a very great pity!

Cameron Duodu
Cameron Duodu

Martin Cameron Duodu is a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster. After publishing a novel, The Gab Boys, in 1967, Duodu went on to a career as a journalist and editorialist.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Cameron Duodu and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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