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General News of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: GNA

IGP urged to decentralize PIPS

Tarkwa (w/r), Feb. 27, GNA- Nana Oye Lithur, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), has appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to decentralize the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS) to enable the public to have access to it and report the misconduct of the Police personnel.

She said at the moment the office is located in Accra alone, and that, "I think it's very crucial that this office is decentralized". Nana Lithur was speaking at a Public forum at Tarkwa, which had the theme: "Improving the Relationship Between the Police and the Public in Ghana".

It brought together personnel of the Police Service, Prisons Service, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), traditional rulers, community leaders, the Media and the general public, among others. The purpose of the programme was to meet and start an engagement with the police to find out their needs, as far as policing was concerned and the role expected of the public in helping the police in the discharge of their duties.

Nana Lithur reacting to some testimonies made at the hearing said they were disturbing and need to be investigated to know whether they are true or not.

She said if the security agency prevents communities from demonstrating, the community can go to court. She said if the PIPS were to be operating at the regional level, it would have helped to foster a better relationship between the public and the Police.

"From now on let's encourage and nurture a fruitful relationship and engagement with the Police", she said.

Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Ayensu, Wassa West District Chief Executive said historically, the Ghana Police Service emerged from a background of being the protectors of the life and interests of the colonial masters. He said the transition towards independence was meant to bring with it a commitment to change this orientation to aid good governance. "However the different military governments that ruled this country in the past created an environment that made the Police revert to function as protectors of government property".

The DCE observed that, the general public perceives the police as "protectors of the government in power and other powerful interest groups, but that perception is not totally correct".

"The Police are there for the government but also they are there for the benefit of the general public both rich and poor", he said. He said another perception the public has is that the Police treat complaints with no urgency and do not act professionally, and in many instances have abused their powers and acted contrary to their code of conduct.

"The relationship between the police and the public cannot be said to be cordial, however, some positive steps can be taken to address this situation, and one such step is through regular interactions between them", he added. 27 Feb 08

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