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General News of Monday, 2 September 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Don’t arm MTTD officers yet – Bureau of Public Safety urges

The Bureau of Public Safety wants the Police Council to halt the arming of Police Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) officers pending their retraining and sensitisation.

The bureau in a statement argued that arming the MTTD personnel without “first equipping them with the requisite soft skills” will heighten police-citizen tensions.

“The Bureau, thus contends that arming all members of the Ghana Police Service or MTTD personnel may be the needful thing to do; but doing so in its current state is a dangerous recipe for more aggravated conflicts and murders, especially on the civilian front. This will deteriorate an already deep-seated mistrust between police and citizens.”

The bureau suggested that police develop a strict protocol for engaging citizens in various scenarios.

It also insisted that the retraining of police personnel with needed soft skills is “crucial to preventing or reducing escalated conflicts that may lead to injuries and loss of lives.”

In addition, it said all Police personnel “should be equipped with basic policing equipment such as radio, bulletproof vest, a less-lethal tool, and a lethal tool (pistol).”

The bureau’s statement is against the backdrop of government’s decision to arm all police officers on traffic duties following the killing of two MTTD personnel on the Kasoa to Budumburam stretch.

That killing was the latest in a spate of attacks as five officers were killed in August.

The government has said it is providing bulletproof vests and also importing weapons for the police.

The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery said the new equipment will enable the police to defend themselves from violent crime.



Find below the full statement

INTERIOR MINISTER AND IGP MUST BE CALLED TO ORDER

The Bureau of Public Safety is calling on the Police Council, chaired by the Vice President of the Republic, and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defense and Interior to immediately intervene and halt an announced adhoc measure by the Interior Minister and the IGP, to immediately arm all personnel of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, until such time that demands (1-3) as stated below are met.

The Bureau appreciates the need to take immediate, definite and bold steps to ensure the safety of Police personnel in the wake of recent deaths of officers in the line of duty. However, providing arms and ammunition to all MTTD personnel without first equipping them with the requisite soft skills and also educating or informing citizens about police expectations and the potential repercussions that may accrue from ignoring them will only aggravate an already conflictive interaction between police and citizens. The Bureau, therefore, calls for a holistic intervention to prevent further police-citizen encounters from deteriorating into conflictive interactions.

Precedent to the immediate arming of MTTD personnel, the Bureau demands that the Police Administration institutes the following:

1. Develop and strictly apply Standard Operating Procedures for all Police personnel applying themselves in various circumstances requiring/involving citizen engagements

2. Train and retrain police personnel to develop and apply interpersonal skills, de-escalating skills, among other soft skills which are equally crucial to preventing or reducing escalated conflicts that may lead to injuries and loss of lives.

3. Inform and educate citizens about police expectations and the likely repercussions that may accrue from ignoring them to help reduce the incidence of police-civilian escalated conflicts.

4. All Police personnel, not only MTTD personnel should be equipped with basic policing equipment such as radio, bulletproof vest, a less-lethal tool, and a lethal tool (pistol).

The Bureau, thus contends that arming all members of the Ghana Police Service or MTTD personnel may be the needful thing to do; but doing so in its current state is a dangerous recipe for more aggravated conflicts and murders, especially on the civilian front. This will deteriorate an already deep-seated mistrust between police and citizens.



We, therefore, urge the Interior Minister, Mr. Ambrose Dery and the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong Boanuh to hasten slowly in their quest to authorize and arm personnel of the MTTD.

The Bureau of Public Safety, however, takes the opportunity to extend our deepest condolences to the families of the two deceased officers Sgt. Micheal Dzamesi, and Lance Corporal Awal Mohammed who met their untimely deaths while working to protect citizens and maintain the peace.

For further discussion you may speak to : Etornam Korda (Research and Advocacy Director) @ 0242819018

Nana Yaw Akwada