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Opinion | Jan 24, 2019

Police Service Enquiries Are Official Duties, Service Vehicles Must Be Used All Times

By Daniel Kwofie
Police Service Enquiries Are Official Duties, Service Vehicles Must Be Used All Times

Probably what has not crossed the minds of many police officers is the fact that service enquiries and its related proceedings are official police duties, and for that matter police vehicles must be used to convey defaulters to designated areas where service enquiries are supposed to be held.

Only God knows the risk many police officers face trekking far distances to attend service enquiries using their own personal resources. Many of them end up being consumed in motor accidents and either die or become incapacitated for the rest of their lives. The sad aspect is that many of these police officers are sometimes very innocent but because people feel they have power to teach fellow police officers where power lies, they make them to go through service just to use their scarce resources to defend themselves.

Service enquiries come with sad and emotional experiences especially when the police officer is being victimised for no reasons. Police officers facing service enquiries must be strong emotionally, psychologically and mentally to handle the stress and the challenges that come with it. Don't allow yourself to be frustrated but rather come out of the service enquiry stronger than ever and it is also time for us to be much aware of our rights as police officers when it comes to some of these things in order for us to be taken for granted.

It was very recently that it personally occurred to me that the first defense I should have put up when I was referred for service enquiry at Tessano was to ask my district commander to release a service vehicle for me attend the service enquiry. That was the first thing I should have done than to use my own means of transport to Tessano and back when I have not asked anybody to refer me to service enquiry.

Those were the days when Abokobi-Ayimensa police district had no service vehicle at their disposal. In order for me to attend the service enquiry as expected, my district commander would have used his own pocket monies to facilitate my means of transport or make sure I get a vehicle from wherever possible to transport me to Tessano and back. Failure to provide means of transport for me, I would have written to the adjudicating officer that I am not availing myself for the trial until such a time that service vehicle is made available to me.

Immediately you are referred for service enquiry, the next thing you should do is to ask your commander about means of transport to wherever the service enquiry will be held. It is your right to ask and don't think you are doing anybody a favour for transporting yourself to wherever you are to appear for service enquiry. If your commander fails to give you a satisfactory answer, put it into writing and address it to him to find means of transport for you to attend the service enquiry. If he or she fails to provide you means of transport, write to the adjudicating officer that you cannot avail yourself for the service enquiry to be held due to transportation challenges.

I am quite sure the police administration itself has not thought about the fact that service enquiries are official police duties and so they have to bear the responsibilities of transporting police officers standing trials to and from designated areas where service enquiries are supposed to be held. If they have thought about it that way, I am very sure they would have taken all the necessary and stringent steps to limit some of the frivolous trials that police officers are made to go through. If the police administration has gotten the awareness that police officers billed for service enquiry can mount serious defenses that they will only appear for trials on condition that service vehicles are released for them, they will definitely revise their notes on some of these things.

The old tradition is that, immediately you are billed for service enquiry, you use your own means of transport to get to the adjudicating officer by hook or crook at wherever he or she may be and so people think that is the way to go. That is because we have failed to appreciate the fact that service enquiries are official police duties of which service vehicles must be used to facilitate its efficiency and effectiveness at all times. You are never to use your own resources during the conduct of a service enquiry in which you are involved because it is official dutiy which you are to perform just like all other police duties.

Your demand for service vehicle is more legitimate if the adjudicating officer who is to try you is more than a distance of one kilometer from your station. The CI 76 is categorically clear on duties beyond one kilometer. According to the CI, if a police officer is to perform a duty beyond one kilometer, service vehicle should be used to transport him or her to the official duty point and back. In event that there is no service vehicle, that police officer should be given a transport allowance. It is time to stop the old practices of police officers using their own means of transporting themselves to far distances to face service enquiries.

Cleave unto the CI 76 and you shall live long in the police service. Activate every regulation of the CI 76 to your advantage and don't wait for them to hook you up with the punitive aspects of it and bill you for a service enquiry. Failure for the police administration to implement the CI 76 fully becomes a defense for a police officer who fails to perform his or her duties effectively and efficiently.

The precondition for every police officer to perform his or her duties effectively and efficiently is to be equipped and maintained as the constitution rightly says it. Failure to equip and maintain the police officer to perform his or her duties should be blamed squarely on the police administration and the government and one of such duties that the police officer should be equipped and maintained is the performance of police service enquiry.

It is the police administration that must bear the full cost of service enquiries and not the police officer who has been billed for service enquiry. The only cost that the police officer must probably bear is the cost for services of a lawyer which he or she has hired to defend him or her during the trial. Any other cost that should facilitate the efficiency and effectiveness of the service enquiry including means of transportation to the designated area of the service enquiry rest with the police administration and not the police officer standing for a trial.

Never use your own money to transport yourself forth and back for service. It is like using a rope to tie your own neck and drag yourself to the slaughter house to put your own head on a chopping board for your throat to be slit. Never lead yourself to the slaughter house to be killed by the lazy butcher man.

Police service enquiries are official police duties and must always be treated as such. If they should try you in absentia because you fail to appear for service enquiry due to unavailability of service vehicle, go to the high court to quash the result of the service enquiry.

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