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23.05.2006 General News

Police confess

A group of police officers, drawn from various stations in Ghana has described the prevailing method of police training in the country as inadequate and so cannot effectively combat the sophisticated crime.

Speaking on behalf of 63 other colleagues at the end of a basic police skills training course in Accra, Chief Superintendent Mina Ayim said there was the lack of basic practical police skills training at the recruit, intermediate and in service levels.

She said instead of communication skills and rescue techniques, which reinforce the core function of protecting life and property, too much emphasis had been placed on areas such as parade and fatigue, adding that those two areas did not impart any direct skills that police officers would need in their day- to –day duties such as arrests, patrols, searches, responding to distress calls and protecting crime scenes.

Among her listeners were the Minister of Interior, Mr. Albert Kan- Dapaah, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Patrick Acheampong, and the US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Pamela Bridgewater.

She said that weapon instructions had not been structured and organised on the same level as drill and classroom instructions.

Public anger has been mounting in recent times against the police for shooting incidents that have claimed civilian lives in Taifa, Dansoman and lately Kotobabi, among other places.

“It has been realised that the expertise of weapon instructors has not been harnessed to motivate them. Weapon instruction at the basic level forms only five per cent of the total training period of trainees,” she said.

Chief Superintendent Ayim, who was also the course leader, said that the police had, of late, come under heavy public criticism as a result of problems associated with the use of force. Deadly force and police brutality in the form of manhandling of suspects and even innocent persons, she added, were issues that were of much concern to the public.

The police, she said, had to devise a new training programme to address the shortfalls.

In and address, Mr. Kan- Dapaah said the government would relentlessly pursue all efforts to empower the Ghana Police Service, both in terms of training and logistics to enable them to play the important role required of them in fostering democracy in the country.

“Only training and regular continuing professional education can empower the police with the intellectual and practical tools to make the right balancing decisions,” he added.