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16.11.2005 General News

Govt is determined to eliminate armed robbery

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Accra, Nov.16, GNA - Government is not satisfied with the string of successes chalked in its anti-robbery campaign and expects more successes against criminal activities in general, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of Interior told Parliament on Wednesday.

"We are not insensitive over the cries of the people on robbery and crime in general. I can assure this house that we are using all human resources, intelligence and machinery to combat crime." Papa Owusu Ankomah was making a statement on the Robbery situation in the country in Parliament.

The statement had been the wish of the house for the Minister to enlighten members on what government was doing to protect life and property from armed robbers.

He said the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions accounted for over 60 per cent of the national statistics on armed robbery in homes, shops and on the highways.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said although aggressive and tactical patrols of the highways had reduced the incidence of armed robbery, traders were being advised against carrying huge sums of money on them on their business trips up country.

He said certain banks had also heeded the call of security agencies to discourage the use of mobile phones in their banking halls and to look out for possible clues to detect robbery conspiracies.

The Interior Minister said the police had lately subdued armed robberies in which lives of some of the criminals were lost. He mentioned the recent Tema Police shoot out with certain robbers who were heavily armed but were subdued saying, "it was facilitated by information gathering through criminal intelligence."

Papa Owusu Ankomah said the Police were now on the trail of criminals and "sooner or later they would have no where to hide." On measures taken so far, he said government had provided over 600 vehicles and recruited over 5,000 policemen and women since 2002. "In the long term, it is hoped that the staff strength of the police service should move to the United Nations standard of 1:500 from the current figure of about 1:1131."

He said a Rapid Deployment Unit had been formed in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions to respond to critical criminal operations. "Very soon, we shall have this special unit in all the regional capitals as we step up our zeal to ensure law, order and peace in the country."

The Interior Minister said, the security agencies were preparing in various ways to combat criminal activities during the Christmas celebrations.

"There is going to be random stop and search, deployment of special vehicles and improved police-public relations to get to our goal," He added.

He said the police were undertaking various measures throughout the country to combat crime.

These include improving intelligence gathering capacity and analysis, improvement in the motivation of personnel involved in combating robbery, public awareness creation on the need for the public to be security conscious.

He said developers of new estates had been asked to take into consideration the provision of Police stations and associated barracks in their layout.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said, "One area of concern for peace in this country is the issue of cross-border crime." He said Ministers of Interior from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo had initiated series of meetings to address the problem. "It is hoped that this would lead to arrangements, which will make it possible for security agencies in the three countries to collaborate more closely and share intelligence on the criminals," He said. 16 Nov.05

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