Institutional Image Gone Under
The image challenge posed by the unacceptable conduct of three police officers at Konongo is not what the newly confirmed Inspector General of Police (IGP) would have loved to be greeted with in the early days of his tenure.
Having three of his officers bully and even kill an innocent man at Konongo using a machete brings to the fore once more the quality of some of our law enforcement officers.
The conduct of the cops was so unprofessional that every IGP would react the way Mr. Oppong-Buanuh when he interdicted the defaulters.
The story has it that one of the cops went for a machete from the police patrol vehicle and returned with it to inflict fatal cuts on the back of the man leading to his death.
That the action of the cops was unprovoked and this not being the first time that such an act of unprofessionalism is taking place calls for another look at how policing is undertaken.
Some cops go out on operations such as it happened at Konongo with a certain level of fury and frustration and without provocation venting these on poor innocent persons whose only crime is that they ask questions such as 'what have I done?' The 'how dare you question a police officer?' question will be followed by an attack such as it befell the deceased.
It reminds us of the story of a man who was murdered by some bad cops who quickly arranged weapons on the side of the corpse to create an erroneous impression that he was armed and, therefore, died in an ensuing firefight.
There are bountiful acts of unprofessionalism within the ranks of the police officers and the need for an overhaul of the system cannot be overlooked.
Snap checks, patrol, MTTD and highway patrol duties and even counter duties are all fraught with challenges.
Most victims do not even know where to turn to when they are unsatisfied with the service provided by police officers and sometimes just abandon the pursuit of cases.
We have observed the eagerness with which the new IGP seeks to effect a turnaround in policing in the country.
While we are excited about his resolve, we shudder to think about how he would be able to change the attitude of bad police officers, as there are many of them. Police officers being Ghanaians and, therefore, a microcosm of the country's citizens are only exhibiting our general attitude as a people.
The solution lies outside the assigning of senior officers to the various layers of field operations although as a short-term solution it would help somewhat. The senior officers, of course, as leaders have a different orientation as commissioned officers and could bring a certain welcome direction.
There is a limited number of senior police officers for such a novelty, a shortcoming which would not inure to the benefits of the new IGP's new deal until he intends to cause the churning out of more senior officers.
The response of the IGP, we must emphasise, instills nonetheless his desire to leave a legacy of a new-look police institution but that for us would be a tall order.
With over twenty cops so far interdicted since he took over, some police officers are already grumbling. New responses intended to alter the status quo would, of course, be met with resistance. Those who want to leave appreciable footprints on the sand of history cannot afford to be cowed by grumblings.
However, let him be fair to police officers who are caught in the web of bad policing by giving them fair hearing which we know he will.
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