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Opinions of Thursday, 14 June 2018

Columnist: Naabenyin Joojo Amissah

A letter to COP Kofi Boakye

COP Mr Nathan Kofi Boakye, Director General of Police Intelligence and Professional Standard (PIPS), is revered by many as arguably, one of the few “no nonsense” officers the Ghana police service currently has.

Interestingly, the director of PIPS, Mr Boakye never begged anyone to respect him as such neither does he deploy the service(s) of any advertising agency to brand him with this enviable image as far as his personality is concerned.

However, Mr Boakye’s dint of hard work coupled with his several attributes of him being fearless, firm, bold, intelligence and above all, his uncompromising nature, gave him this public image recognition and admiration.

It was therefore not surprising that many ordinary Ghanaians, as well as some security experts, called for him to be made the IGP in recent times when armed robbers went on rampage and terrorised many innocent people with impunity, creating a “state of insecurity”.

I am not certain whether the calls were appropriate but one thing I know for sure is that just like the late DCOP Awuni or retired COP Adoba, COP Boakye does not entertain stupidities neither does he allow himself to be manipulated by politicians and other influential persons in society.

I, therefore, welcomed the news when Mr Boakye was made the Director General of PIPS because I have always been of the firm convention that the continues public uproar about the seemingly down trending image of the police could be revived through discipline among the rank and file of the service.

Of course, we also talk about the need to resource the service and I have no objection to this but the question is, would it be prudent to resource the police as an institution when its personnel have become highly indiscipline and have refused to abide by the code of ethics governing their chosen profession?

Also, when it is common knowledge that several criminals have had their ways into the service through political affiliations, payment of bribes and other obscure means, raising the bar by adhering to high professional standards as a way of sanitising the service, cannot be overlooked.

This is why many Ghanaians have been looking forward to having a police service made up of men and women who truly love the profession and are willing to work with high sense of integrity for far too long but their wishes have not been rewarded for very obvious reasons.

Past and current happenings in the police service look like our police chiefs have turned falsehood and concealment into something of an art-form.

This is one of the fundamental reasons why I personally supported the idea of moving self-disciplined COP Kofi Boakye to PIPS to help to instil high levels of discipline into the service because I thought he could walk the talk.

But what have we seen, witnessed or experienced under COP Boakye since he changed his new office in the hierarchy of the Police Service?

Can we boldly say that our perception about the police being corrupt, taken bribes or in some worrying situations, aiding and abetting criminals to perpetrate sophisticated crimes with stealth changed?

We continue to hear news that some policemen have been arrested for conducting armed robbery arts with the uniforms and guns that we have bought for them to among other things, fight crimes and protect us.

This is why I have doubts if COP Nathan Kofi Boakye has so far lived up to the expectation and therefore, deserves the confidence many of us have reposed in him and must continue to enjoy those praises we often shower on him.

Under his watch, the bar of professional standard continues to be low as some personnel continue to perpetrate crimes and violate the rights of some civilians with impunity just as we used to see before he took over.

One of the several disturbing incidents that quickly comes to mind as far as the conduct of the police service is concerned has been the brutal mayhem that was visited on a journalist by some policemen on duty right at the CID Headquarters in Accra about two months ago.

The victim, Latif Iddrisu has gone to the venue to report on the arrest of the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Koku Anyidoho who was alleged to have passed a treasonable comment.

The reporter harmlessly asked one of the police of the technical name of one of the crowd control vehicles that was stationed at the headquarters and this incurred the wrath of the police.

Some policemen in uniform, who are paid by the taxpayer including Latif, subjected the journalist to severe beatings for asking this harmless question that was just to aid him to be able to inform his audience properly.

It is shocking to note that four X-Ray examinations and a CT scan performed by doctors determined that Latif Iddrisu suffered a fractured skull as a result of the senseless beatings he went through under the hands of the police at no other location than the CID Headquarters.

How on earth should such a mild question from a journalist who was wearing an identifiable tag warrant his signing of a death warrant at the hands of policemen?

This senseless display of foolishness or exhibition of stupidity perpetrated by the police caused tempers to fly high among the inky fraternity as were as several well-meaning Ghanaians but the initial posture of the police with the assurance that justice was going to be served by bringing the offenders to book, calmed nerves.

Even though some of us were simply not ready to take them by their words at face value because of past experiences, we hoped that the PIPS Director was going to showcase one of his traits of being no-nonsense and make sure that whosoever was involved was made to face the law.

However, COP Kofi Boakye has worsened the plight of the victim and anyone who went through some emotional torture with Latif by inflicting fresh wounds with his open declaration that “We are yet to get the CCTV of the event since all those around could not identify the culprits because it was dark in the alley” two months after the dastardly art.

Addressing the media on the police service’s activities for the first quarter of the year, some weeks ago, Mr Boakye also alleged that Latif cannot identify his attacker(s) even if they were lined up but the reporter has flatly denied this position of the PIPS Director with a contrary view.

Honestly speaking, my heart griefs whenever I think of why the journalist was brutalised as well as where the incident occurred and the position of PIPS regarding the incident.

Touchwood, even if for the sake of police argument, Latif is not that sensible, I know in the fibre of my being that he knows how to “poo-poo” and that he would be able to look for a black goat in the night.

In view of this, Mr Boakye’s desire to cover up his “boys” who carried out this unacceptable show of sheer stupidity with his antics, is equally unacceptable and rather provoking and must be condemned without any equivocations whatsoever.

For nothing at all, we know the speed and high sense of modern day police technique(s) that the police deployed recently when some fugitives attacked the Kwabenya police station, shot and killed Inspector Emmanuel Ashilevi and helped others to escape from cells.

Even though these hardened criminals escaped immediately after their heinous crime, the police were able to trace the suspects and arrested them from different locations across the country.

It will interest you to note that the police went on haywire and arrested a lot of suspects when Lance Corporal Nicholas Doku was shot and killed by suspected robbers while the policeman was providing a lawful escort to a businessman in Tarkwa with huge sums of money recently.

After screening, some of them were found to have played various roles in the killing of the policeman and one of the suspects who attempted to escape while leading the police to gather evidence, was immediately shot and killed by the police.

My decision to introduce these antecedents is meant to illustrate the point that none of these incidents occurred at locations where there were CCTV Cameras but that notwithstanding, the police were quick to arrest suspects through what they called “Police Intelligence”.

The question then is that why can’t the police use the same speed of light to unravel the senseless attack on Latif Iddrisu so that those who committed the act would be dealt with in accordance with the law?

The attitude of COP Nathan Kofi Boakye is telling every civilian in this country that we are seriously not safe under the police and that our will to surrender our rights to them for protection is in total disarray.

Per his argument, a policeman can shoot and kill you at any time and go scot-free because they cannot use intelligence to identify him or her but they will be able to gather intelligence to arrest suspects when a policeman is either attacked or killed.

This is an eighteenth-century approach and must have no place and space in our modern day policing especially as we see ourselves as a beacon of hope of democracy in the sub-region.

I wish to humbly opine that you should give credence to the highly touted discipline status you have acquired in the eyes of many Ghanaians by sticking to your grounds and instil discipline into your “boys and girls” at all times and levels.

The path you are charting is a very good road that will lead you to fall from glory soon because it is so scary and those who trekked it in the past, tarnished their beautiful images in the sight of many well-meaning Ghanaians.

Start cracking the whips and get rid of all unscrupulous officers who are dreaded wolfs but have had their skins covered with skins of humble lamps.

The police need not be propagandists and cover-up machinery.

We need justice for Latif because he is also a citizen and not a spectator.

I trust and respect you so much so please do not give me cause to deserve the right to ask for the criteria of qualification on judgement day if should I see certain leading policemen in heaven.

Thank you, sir.