Some 200 officers of the Ghana Police Service in the Bono Region have been sensitised on child-friendly policing in Sunyani.
The programme was organised by the Ghana Police Service and sponsored by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The essence of the sensitization was to provide the necessary knowledge and skill to police officers to uphold the legal rights of children, protect them from abuse and exploitation as well as facilitate the administration of justice when children are exposed to abuse and offence.
Supt. Setina Aboagye, the Regional Co-ordinator for Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) for Bono Region in her welcome address said the programme was to equip the police officers with child friendly policing and the little resources to effectively handle children when they come to contact and conflict with the law.
She added that it will also to change attitudes among police officers with respect to children in contact and conflict with the law.
She observed that children were prone to vulnerability. “Because of their vulnerability, they are prone to various forms of abuse. So it behooves of police to make justice accessible to children who approached the officers and to ensure it’s speedy”, she emphasized.
Supt. Setina, who was one of the resource persons for the programme took participants through the models such Child Rights Legislation, Integrating child-friendly policing into Ghana Police Service and the guiding principles of the Standard Procedures when interacting with children in contact with the law and in conflict with the law.
She emphasized that there are three principles every police officer required to internalize and apply them in their work with regards to children which includes consideration of the best interest of the child, upholding the rights of the child and adopting a child-friendly approach.
"Use of arrest, custody and remand should be the last, especially those in conflict with the law. The child privacy in this case is protected and we have to ensure their confidentiality”, she assured.
Chief Supt Kwaku Dua, the Regional Crime Officer for Bono Region and a facilitator advised the officers to take the training seriously in order to be able to impart what they have learnt to others.
Detective Rebecca Fordjour, a DOVVSU officer and a participant said the workshop have broadened her knowledge and competence in dealing with children, especially when they come to contact with the law or in conflict with the law as well.
The participants were drawn from MTTD, CID, and DOVVSU from the various Districts and Divisions such as Wenchi, Sunyani, and Berekum in the Bono Region.