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25.04.2006 Editorial

The Police: Keeping the realm safe

By Accra Daily Mail

The police have once more come under the spotlight. In the line of duty last week, they opened fire on suspected armed robbers and a number of people paid the ultimate price. From the statement issued by the police authorities themselves, some of the dead were innocent.

An investigation has been ordered, and rightly so.

Are Ghanaian police personnel trigger-happy?
They may or they may not be, but they are currently engaged in the very difficult task of ridding us of violent armed robbers who are stomping the length and breadth of our country with impunity causing pain and fear.

Over the past two years, our normally friendly country has in certain instances become too hot to handle because of the activities of armed robbers who have become as callous as they are daring. They attack homes, they engage in highway robberies, they terrorise tourists and foreign visitors and generally engage in activities totally inimical to the country's interests and development goals.

Clearly then, we cannot handle suspects with kid gloves and wherever possible, our security agencies must adopt "awe and shock" tactics to deal with them. It is here that the security agencies themselves have to be extra careful because they could go off the mark and unleash their own kind of terror. But in taking the police on for their transgressions, we must also be careful that we do not end up throwing the baby away with the dirty water.

The Police authorities have to rein in their personnel, some of whom are too eager to use their uniforms and weapons to show "where power lies". It is that frame of mind that often leads some of them into the kind of shooting incident that took place in Dansoman last week. They were on a legitimate assignment protecting the realm, but look at what mess it's ended in.

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