There is a beginning to every story and some stories may never end at all. It is going to be told continuously from generations to generations and one of such stories is how women got themselves involved in policing in Ghana.
Women were never part of policing in Ghana from the beginning as they were stereotyped to be weaker vessels and relegated to the background. They were only considered useful when it comes to sex and performance of household chores like cooking, washing of dishes and clothings, sweeping, carrying of firewood among other menial jobs and chores in the home.
Society designed and specified the role women are to play and to perform in our socio-economic settings but the story of how women got themselves involved in policing in Ghana invokes emotions, full of inspiration and spark confidence that women are very capable and competent when giving the opportunity to become police officers. It marks the beginning of human resource dynamisms and explorations in the now Ghana Police Service and a story to tell that all men, whether men or women, are born equal and to further strengthen the argument that women can equally do better at what their male counterparts do when given the opportunity and the space.
The Ghana Police Service we see today has a long history running from the arrival of the colonialists, through the independence struggles and the post - colonial era to the present day Ghana with women playing various roles in building our nation and contributing their parts to policing and law enforcements. The Ghana Police Service through its dedicated men and women have braced storms against all odds to ensure that lives and properties of Ghanaians are protected at all cost and women in the Police Service are not left out when paying for the cost of saving lives and properties with their lives. Recently at somewhere in the Northern Region, PW/Sgt. Agartha Nabin fell in line of duties when armed robbers stormed the police checkpoint where she was on duty and gunned her down leaving her children, husband and family members heart broken and completely devastated.
From the inception of the Ghana Police Service, law enforcements were solely business for men and even among the men, the Gold Coast Police Administration wanted tall, stout and muscular men to the job. They wanted men whose physical appearances and stature intimidated criminals and made them succumbed. Those were the times that physical appearances and statures were considered more suitable for policing over intelligence, wit and brainpower. To the colonialists, policing was all about force and brutalities and so there were no spaces for women to occupy in the Gold Coast Police Force. Women at that time, no matter their levels of education and competences, were still considered not suitable to be police officers because of the style of policing which was being practiced in the then Gold Coast.
The story however changed in 1952 when Dr. Kwame who was then the leader of government business felt the narratives should change as far as human resource recruitments into the Gold Coast Police Force was concerned. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah felt there was the need to balance the equation in the Gold Coast Police Force by bringing women on board to contribute their quota to policing and law enforcements in the Gold Coast and that marked the beginning of talent exploration in the capacity of women to take up some roles in the Gold Police Force. The story changed from then then a police force to a modern police service which can now boast of about 8 000 standing force of women occupying various positions in the Ghana Police Service right from Police Constables to Commissioners of Police. In fact, women potentials in the Ghana Police Service almost got to its peak when Mrs. Elizabeth Mills-Robertson was made to act as Inspector-general of Police until until Mr. Paul Tawiah Qusye was substantively appointed as the Inspector-general of Police in 2009.
Not only in Ghana but internationally, Ghanaian police women have contributed their quota to make the world peaceful and safer by serving at various United Nations' Missions in war torn areas. Various batches of Ghanaian Police women have served at various capacities and recently Phyllis Ama Tebua, a Chief Superintendent of Police from Ghana was adjudged and awarded as the the UN female police officer of the year.
There is this and other more women who have blazed the trail as far as policing, both locally and internationally is concerned. They have zealously remained committed and dedicated to their duties in which ever capacity they found themselves in the Ghana Police Service.
The story of Supt/Dr. Aba-Afari, the current Divisional Crime Officer at Madina Police Division talks about how women can combine their strenuous police duties with that of family and again excel in academics as she became the first police woman in the whole Africa to be awarded with a doctorate degree after completing a successful academic programme.
Women since they joined the police have broken all gender barriers to establish themselves as people with potentials and capabilities in whichever capacity and position they are to serve. Today, there are hundreds of police women who are climbing academic ladders in various academic professions and disciplines but how did it start?
It all started in September 1952 when the first 12 batch of police women were enlisted into the Gold Police Force and that was the beginning for a long and forward match for women in the Gold Police Force which has now become Ghana Police Service to rise with dynamism and charisma. After rigorous and robust training at Accra Police Depot, they passed out on 1st December 1952 with no other than Rosemond Asiamah emerging first among the 12. From then, the story changed from less privileged and supposedly feeble women who were considered not suitable for policing and law enforcements to a new force of police women who are justified by their higher levels of intellectual capacities and their abilities to make change and history in the Ghana Police Service.
Emerging the first among the first 12 batch of police women means Rosemond Asimah officially became the first ever police woman in the history of the Ghana Police Service. She and her 11 colleagues became the first crop of police women and pacesetters of modern generation of police women who would come after them and make positive strides and impacts as far as policing and law enforcements in Ghana are concerned. She and her 11 colleagues gave the current generation of police women a reason to believe to become police officers and sparked their confidence to break all barriers of gender as far as policing is concerned.
Today, we have police women who are Districts and Divisional Police Commanders and a lot more of them leading combat operations to ensure that there is law and order. We have had DCOP/Mrs. Sika-Nartey (Rtd) becoming the first police woman to command a Police Region and then followed COP/Mrs. Rose-Bio Atinga who was once Greater Accra and Volta Regional Police Commander. Mrs. Gifty Anim-Botwe became the first police woman to act briefly as the head of CID and the immediate past head of the CID, COP/Mrs. Maame Yaa Tiwa Addo-Danquah became the first ever police woman to substantively head the CID for more than 2 years since its inception. Women have since demonstrated character and resilience when it comes to law enforcements and policing in Ghana.
After becoming police women, the first 12 batch and later batches which followed them faced a lot of restrictions as they were not allowed to marry and give birth. As soon as they got pregnant as a police woman, they would have to resign from the police force and walk away despite their desires and passions to remain police women and so in 1958, and after 5 years in the Gold Coast Police Force which had become Ghana Police Force because Ghana had just attained independence, PW1 Rosemond Asiamah tendered her resignation at the rank of sergeant. This was after she had performed her duties creditably and one point in time Dr. Kwame Nkrumah drafted her and some of her colleagues into his security details and went on international trips and assignments with them showcasing that women equally have what it takes to be police officers.
After 5 years in the now Ghana Police Service, PW1 Rosemond Asiamah wanted to marry and have a family of her own. Since the police force was not allowing them to get married and give birth, she tendered her resignation but she would not leave without petitioning the police administration against that very rule and regulation that did not permit police women to get married and give birth. She felt that it was unfair and against rights of women to restrict them from getting married and give birth whereas their male counterparts were at the luxury of getting married and to have wives and children.
Finally, the police administration at the time reasoned into her petition and arguments and granted that police women could equally get married and give birth. Some of her mates and colleagues who had resigned to get married and give birth were reinstated immediately but she herself took up some teaching appointments and got involved in other civil duties for God and country. Despite leaving the police force after 5 years, her spot as the number one police woman remained since it is her unique identity as far as policing in Ghana is concerned. Till the end of times, she will continue to be remembered and celebrated as the first ever police woman in Gold Coast which later became Ghana.
There were still more hurdles to cross as police women were restricted to some duties and were not allowed to rise up to certain ranks in the then Gold Coast Police Force . Against all odds, ACP/Mrs Margaret Darkwah (Rtd) who was among the 12 batch of police women became the first police woman to enter the then Police College and be commissioned as a senior police officer who is a woman. She subsequently rose through the ranks and reached Assistant Commissioner of Police before retiring but that is not the end of story about how women can rise in rank in the Police Service. The story had actually begun as in the preceding years, the Ghana Police Service was going to witness dynamic women strong personalities and character rising to fill their space in the now Ghana Police Service.
The story of women potentials and capabilities in the Ghana Police Service had just begun as future crop of police women were much prepared and poised to take the Bull by the horn to steps further ahead of the first 12 batch who were recruited in September 1952. Then comes the era of COP/Mrs. Jane Donkor (Rtd). The first ever police woman to have forward matched to cross the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police and subsequently retiring in 2003 as Commissioner of Police. For the first time in the history of the Ghana Police Service, a woman had naturally rose through the ranks and gotten to a Commissioner of Police.
COP/Mrs. Jane Donkor (Rtd) felt the story of the first women to have been recruited in the Police Service should not be left in the oblivion. It is time to celebrate them and any other woman who had distinguishably served the Ghana Police Service and so she went round to look for the first 12 batch of the police women who were recruited into the Ghana Police Service and had anniversary celebrations organized for them.
In 1989, COP/Mrs. Jane Donkor (Rtd) and Dr. Nora Bonso-Bruce who was the female medical doctor and a police woman at the Police Hospital formed the Police Ladies Association (POLAS) and 30 years on, the POLAS has forged ahead despite its challenges to become a formidable body and the only recognized association in the Ghana Police Service overseeing the welfare and the interest of the woman police officer. There is more to the POLAS story and hopefully time and space will someday offer us the opportunity to say it.
On 13th December 2020, PW1 Rosemond Amissah who is now known as Mrs. Rosemond Nkansah turned 90 and POLAS and their executives were there in their numbers to celebrate the woman and her 11 colleagues who paved the way for them and also gave them a reason to believe to become police women in Ghana. In a speech read on behalf of COP/Mrs. Beatrice Vib-Zanziri who is the current president of POLAS by COP/Mrs. Maame Yaa Tiwa Addo-Danquah, POLAS paid a glowing lifetime tribute to Mrs. Rosemond Nkansah and her 11 colleagues who set the pace and paved the way for them to also serve their country as police women.
Highlighting on the role of women in policing and law enforcements in Ghana, POLAS remarked the humble beginning of women in policing which started with the first 12 batch in September 1952 to the current generation where police women have asserted themselves in various roles and capacities to advance the cause of women in the Ghana Police Service and their contributions to policing and law enforcements in Ghana and beyond its boarders.
From just 12 women in 1952 to a police service which currently boasts of over 8 000 women serving in various capacities in the Ghana Police Service, home and abroad. It also makes Ghana the only country in West Africa with largest number of police women and a feat which can never be celebrated without mentioning the first 12 batch of police women who were recruited in 1952. POLAS in their closing remarks thanked Mrs. Rosemond Nkansah and her 11 colleagues who blazed the trail against all odds to change the narratives about women and policing in Ghana and wished for more life and good health for Mrs. Rosemond Nkansah and her surviving colleagues after 68 years down the line.
The birthday celebrations which was held at High Gate Hotel here in Accra saw some members of the first 12 police women in attendance. They were PW4 Adelaide Tagoe now Mrs. Adelaide Appiah and PW6 Gladys Parker-French now known as Mrs. Gladys Korankye. They came despite their old age and health to join friends and family of their senior colleague to celebrate her 90th birthday. 68 years down the memory lane after they were recruited into the Gold Coast Police Force, 7 of them have gone ahead to rest with the Lord remaining 5 of them. From the humble beginning of 12 gallant women to new narratives about women in policing and law enforcement but in it all, the story can never be told without mentioning PW1 Rosemond Asiama who later became Rosemond Nkansah and her 11 colleagues.
The story still continues as more women are exploring the space of policing and Ghana and together with the Police Ladies Association (POLAS) we wish PW1 Rosemond Asiama now Mrs. Rosemond Nkansah a happy birthday. She and her 11 colleagues gave us a reason to believe in women capabilities as police officers and if there was a first-ever police woman in Ghana, it is no other than PW1 Rosemond Asimah, now Mrs. Rosemond Nkansah
She is worth celebrating on her 90th birthday.