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28.11.2005 General News

Need for crime management - Owusu Ankomah

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Busua (W/R) Nov.28, GNA - Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of the Interior, last weekend said Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions account for about 65 per cent of robbery cases recorded in the country.

Addressing the Regional Ministers Conference at Busua near Takoradi, he said there would be a drastic reduction of crime when the situation in the two regions was well managed.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said factors that had contributed to robbery in the country included lack of security consciousness by the public, cash economy that made people carry large sums of money on them, inadequate Police Stations and poor telecommunication within the Ghana Police Service.

He said although there had been an increase in robbery this year compared to last year, some actions had been taken by the Police to arrest the criminals.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said increased high patrols and other actions by the Police had led to a 50 per cent decline in the frequency of highway robbery compared to last year.

He said there had also been a decline in the levels of workplace robbery due to the advice to managements of commercial enterprises to have large sums of money on them.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said the banks had also been sensitised to let their security men be on guard for suspicious characters loitering in banking halls and the frontage of the banks and the ban on the use of mobile phones within banking halls.

He appealed to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies to assist in the maintenance of security within their districts by assisting in the provision of residential and office accommodation for the Police.

Papa Owusu Ankomah called on the Regional Ministers and District Chief Executives to show interest in the performance of Police personnel within their areas.

He said the Ghana Refugee Board and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had initiated a programme for the voluntary repatriation of refugees in the country.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said a tripartite agreement was signed between the Governments of Ghana, Liberia and the UNHCR in Accra in September last year and many Liberian refugees had since left to assist in the reconstruction of their country.

He was optimistic that with the return of peace in Liberia, the programme would be intensified to enable more refugees return to Liberia voluntarily.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said recent developments in the attitude and behaviour of some of the refugees raised a lot of concerns in security in the country.

He noted that some of the refugees had taken advantage of the country's commitment in honouring its international obligations and the Ghanaian hospitality to violate the country's laws. Papa Owusu Ankomah said his Ministry would not condone any acts of lawlessness from refugees in the country.

"Any refugee who does not conduct himself well would be arrested, prosecuted and when found guilty would face the necessary sanctions, " He added.

Papa Owusu Ankomah pledged the commitment of the Ministry to continue to ensure the safety, protection and welfare of refugees as well as the registration and issuance of identity cards to refugees and asylum seekers.

He said opinion leaders in some communities directly or indirectly promoted activities of Fulani herdsmen.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said some Fulani herdsmen had settled in the country to undertake their activities but their stay might be illegal since they had not registered with the Ghana Immigration Service. He said Cabinet had considered the issue and menace of the herdsmen and made some proposals on how to manage their activities. The Minister of Interior said the proposals included designation of areas for herdsmen, establishment of kraals, legislation on operation of kraals, registration of herdsmen, movement permit and quarantine of animals.

He said the Ministry had in addition made plans to establish a Peace Building Support Unit to manage activities that relate to the attainment of peace in the country.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said, "Ghana is an island of peace in a sea of turbulence within the West African sub-region and some crisis have occurred within communities in the country." He said Peace Advisory Councils would be established with representatives from key institutions at the District and Regional Levels under the Unit to work in collaboration with the Regional and District Security Councils.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said National Peace Council, would be established to provide the national guidance on the management of conflicts at all levels in the country.

He said a corps of Conflict Resolution Officers would be trained to assist District and Regional Peace Advisory Councils and the National Peace Council to resolve conflicts. Papa Owusu Ankomah said it was proposed to have a training programme for the first batch of Conflict Resolution Officers before the end of the year.

He said Cabinet had decided that the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) should create a border patrol unit whose responsibility would be to patrol land borders.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said this was to strengthen border security to prevent undesirable elements from entering the country.