Today is Christmas, and a very important day in the lives of many Christians across the globe. Though it's a religious feast, it has been marked as public holiday here in Ghana together with other nations.
It is time many public workers take a long break from work, take stock of their lives and make resolutions for the years ahead but the police officer continues working till probably when he drops dead. No rest!
It's a holiday whereby many families and friends will gather to have a lot of fun but the police officer will have to dress up and go to work and leave his or her family behind. For Ghanaians to celebrate their Christmas and new year festivities in peace and not in pieces, the police officer will have to dress up and go to work to protect them and their properties.
Around these times, all leaves are banned or suspended. Even compassionate leave has been capped to 2 days instead of the statutory 5 days. What this means is that the police officer has up to 2 days to travel from Paga to Elubo to attend personal family matters involving his wife, children and parents.
Those police officers who were not able to go on leave will in the course of the year will continue working during and after the Christmas and new year festivities. The usual excuses will be that there are no men or personnel so they should continue working till such time that God knows when men or personnel will come even when the holidays are over.
This is the time that police officer will have to activate all his senses and put his life on line for Ghanaians to celebrate the Christmas and new year festivities in a crime free and serene environment. In these times, the police officer works more than expected to protect the lives and properties of those Ghanaians who are making merry at the expense of his own.
They leave their barracks or the rented quarters to go and guard others when their family also need them most in these times.
The sad ones are those living in rented quarters. Whilst protecting lives and properties of others, what happens if their family comes under attack too? What about if they return from protecting the lives and properties of Ghanaians and find their own properties stolen?
It has been happening all the time. There are times police officers book rifles to go and protect lives and properties of Ghanaians and on their return, their own rooms have been broken into, and their properties carried away.
What usually happens is that they report at the police station and that ends it. Those cases usually remain under investigations forever.
They start life all over again to acquire those properties that took them sometimes over 10 years or more in bits. No support from the police administration, the government or anybody. They are all by themselves.
Police officers leave their houses to work and on their returned, the whole building has been razed down by fire and everything is gone in a flash.
I still remember that my constable friend who went on duty on a Christmas day and returned to meet ashes in his room. The only thing left was the police uniform he wore to duty that day.
Today is Christmas so let's pray that no police officer dies or become incapacitated in line of duties. Such deaths are never forgotten. Anytime Christmas comes, such families instead of making merry, they will rather mourn and grieve over the death of that police officer who was once the pillar of the family but was killed on Christmas day or rendered incapacitated whilst discharging his duties of maintaining law and order during the Christmas.
I think the police officer also deserve to celebrate the Christmas with his family and friends just like every Ghanaian does. It should not necessarily be on the Christmas day due to the exigencies of policing. The IGP can create that special Christmas for police officers who were on duty Christmas day and missed out to celebrate the occasion with their family.
The IGP can arrange for at least one or two days offs in succession across the country to ensure that when Christmas and new year festivities are all over, police officers can equally have a day or two to attend to their family at home.
The same can be done for our Muslim brothers and sisters during the Salat. The police officer also needs to have a a quality time with his family during the Christmas and the Salat day.
The police administration should consider it as a need to tighten the family units of our police officers who are always on duty even when their family needs them.
Only God knows how painful it is to go to work on Christmas and new year day if you are a police officer.
Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III
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