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Editorial | Feb 15, 2019

Restoring Police Morale A Must

By Daily Guide
IGP David Asante Apeatu
IGP David Asante Apeatu

Yesterday, the media and for that matter, Ghanaians had the opportunity of listening to the Inspector General of Police's state of the security of the nation's address as it were.

We wish such encounters formed an entry of the law enforcement agency's calendar of activities each year. That would enable Ghanaians to appreciate the work of the police and proffer suggestions about how to enhance policing.

It was heartwarming hearing about innovations in the pipeline to change the face of policing; a prerequisite, of course, for effective law enforcement.

Until the Police Administration complained recently about not having cartographers for the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to draw impressions of suspected criminals, those abreast with crime management did not know about this significant drawback.

Now that the IGP has said that efforts are on to employ cartographers to, as he put it, do such sketches, we can heave a sigh of relief at this time.

In a modern day setting of advanced and sophisticated criminalities which cynics describe as hi-tech crime, it is bizarre to think about a CID without cartographers.

The Ghana Police Service, like other institutions, cannot claim to be perfect and therefore without blemish. That notwithstanding, there are a number of issues which must be addressed at the political level since after all, the law enforcement agency depends on the budgetary allocation from the state.

The provision of vehicles and other tools for the efficient performance of their statutory functions have often been discussed on the public domain. Not so much though, about the welfare of the men and women who enforce the law at the risk of their lives.

Land for the construction of living quarters for policemen and women have never been in short supply. The colonial authorities ensured that the various police formations had sufficient land for future developments. Unfortunately, so many years after the Union Jack was lowered, the Police continue to live in buildings which their great grand fathers occupied when they constituted the Gold Coast Constabulary.

If the political establishment and Ghanaians by extension demand so much from the Police in terms of policing, let them consider and urgently so the construction of modern living quarters for cops across the country.

The Nima Police Command is a typical barracks with sufficient land for development yet this is underutilized. The same feature exists in other barracks countrywide. Where the structures exist, they are the colonial ones so small that privacy is denied: parents with their kids sleeping at the foot of their matrimonial beds.

Furniture in CID offices of the various divisions and districts are appalling. In some offices, police officers contribute to buy stationery and sometimes food for suspects in cells.

The practice has persisted over many years and we wonder what jinx is preventing the Police Service from catching the attention of the political establishments of the various regimes.

We should begin, as a country especially the political establishment, looking at the challenges of the police holistically. A Police Service with poor accommodation, offices without adequate furniture and office stationery including computers cannot deliver world-class service to their compatriots. The IGP's own transformation project must consider engaging the political establishment with a view to upgrading living standards of policemen and women.

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