IN A bid to provide adequate security at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi during the GHANA 2008 tournament, the Ghana Police Service is training a total of 500 personnel in stadium security management.
The police personnel made up of 350 men and 150 female drawn from the various divisions of the Police Service in the Ashanti region, were grouped into the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) with the core mandate of ensuring and maintaining public order in the northern sector of the country.
In October 2005, 160 personnel of the unit were first trained in the national capital, Accra to generally enforce law and order at public events in the northern sector of the country.
The personnel would undergo a two-week intensive training in maintenance of order techniques, demonstrations, intervention techniques, practical police duties, arrests, handcuffing, search, patrols and how to return fire on patrol among others.
Kumasi, one of the four venues for the tournament would host countries in Group C, which comprises five and four times champions, Egypt and Cameroon respectively as well as Sudan and Zambia.
ASP E. A. Akonnor, Officer in-charge of the Kumasi Police Training School said his outfit was training personnel who would be deployed to ensure a trouble-free tournament in the metropolis.
He gave the assurance when he briefed a section of the media during the official opening ceremony of the fifth batch of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) of the Police in Kumasi last Wednesday.
Addressing the personnel at the opening ceremony, ACP Seth Charles Oteng, the acting Ashanti Regional Police Commander said the security needs of the people had become more complex of late, due to the changing times.
Considering this development, he said police personnel needed to be given a well researched and rehearsed training programme to conform to contemporary trends in crime.
He said the May 9, 2001 Stadium Disaster which claimed 126 lives, brought about the creation of the RDF which was formed in 2005 through the assistance of the French government.
The main functions of the RDF, according to him, would be to provide VVIP escorts, guard duties as well as patrols and traffic control duties.
ACP Oteng mentioned the successful provision of adequate security at local and international football matches, professional handling of numerous demonstrations, notably 'Wahala' and 'ROPAL' and control of violence in the country as the major achievements of the RDF since its formation.
He as well enumerated the successful provision of security at international conferences such as AGOA and AU summits, maintenance of law and order during students and industrial riots.
ACP Oteng cautioned the personnel to emulate the shinning example of their predecessors and exhibit a high sense of professionalism in their work to help maintain public order.
In his welcome address, Chief Superintendent G.A. Mensah, the Manhyia Divisional Commander and Operations Commander of Ashanti Region urged the personnel to take their training seriously for the country to benefit from their expertise.
He charged them to put up a high level of professionalism before, during and after the GHANA 2008 tournament so as to help sustain the good image of the country across the world.
From Fred J A Ibrahim Jnr., Kumasi