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Opinions of Monday, 11 July 2016

Columnist: Daniel Kwofie

Killings of police by armed robbers, a threat to the safety of judges

Office of the Chief Justice Ghana, Accra

Dear Madam,

Killings of police by armed robbers is a threat to the safety of our Judges and Justice delivery

Your worship, I write to you as a concerned police officer who is doing his possible best to ensure that law and order is maintained, crime is detected and prevented as well as offenders of the law are apprehended and prosecuted amidst all forms of threats and risks that are associated with law enforcement.

Our society is fast changing so new forms of threats and risks keep emerging every day and that is making crime combat very difficult I must say. You will agree with me that the police and the judiciary are Siamese twins which cannot be separated by any surgeon in this our world because these two intuitions cannot do without each other.

The constitutional functions of these two institutions are interwoven like the web of a spider, thus making them inseparable. I am too naive to tell you the role that the police plays in deepening democracy and rule of law by contributing tirelessly our quota towards smooth justice delivery by risking our lives in arresting the criminals just to ensure that society is free from crimes.

As a result of police working hard to make the society safe, many young police officers have died in their numbers but the sad aspect is that all are looking on including our judges. No one cares.

Your worship, I want to draw your attention to the recent killings of police officers by armed robbers which seem to concern no one in this country. It is a case of cause and effect situation that threatens justice delivery which can translate into dislocations in the rule of law and a slap on the face of democracy but nobody seems to care about it.

Who cares if a police officer dies fighting robbery? That is a social injustice in the highest order in this our country called Ghana. By putting our lives on line for people who do not care whether we die or not is an injustice emanating from ungratefulness.

Your worship, our lives even threatened more when the Supreme Court ruled that armed robbery is now a bailable offence after Counsel Marthin Kpebu filed a suit before it. How I wished all offences are bailable except robbery but who am I? A mere police lance corporal to question the wisdom of the big wigs in our legal system? In fact, the law lies in your bosom so I have no questions but rather worries.

Worries that this ruling has tendencies to kill more police officers including me-since armed robbers on bail can launch reprisal attacks on police officers who arrested them if they should be granted bail. This will endanger the safety of the police as well as the judges. We now have most of these police officers who take part of armed robbery operations staying in communities these days.

They can easily be located and be killed in cold blood in their homes. This is really a big worry in crime combat I must confess. I have since been entertaining fear that if I arrest an armed robber, the court will grant him bail after which he may come after me or any of my family members.

I am very sure this thinking is also running in the heads of most of my colleagues. If this thinking continue for long, the morale and the commitment levels of the police to combat crimes will fall below the ebb. When that happens, we will see its ripple effects on our justice delivery systems.

One Inspector Asante who helped to arrest armed robbers somewhere Kumasi got killed by the same armed robbers after they were granted bail. We are already dying and nothing concrete seems to have been done about it but here comes a ruling from the Supreme Court even endangering our lives the more.

I have been told one of our senior officers is currently seeking a review of that ruling. I pray you lend him ears so that we can have confident that if we are able to arrest armed robbers, they will not come back and attack us and our families

Your worship, recent killing of police officers is a direct attack on the judiciary. It is a threat to the safety of our judges. The judge is only safe if the police is alive and if the police dies, the judge is prone to attacks not only from armed robbers but any other criminal which the judge is trying his or her case.

The judge is never safe without the police but it appears that our judges care very little about the life of a police officers who serve as a shield for them. Many judges who are handling sensitive cases are alive today because they have police protection. May be the whole Ghana including our judges want to wake up one day and find the bodies of all the police officers lying on the streets before they realize that very little have been done to protect our police to protect all Ghanaians including the judges themselves.

Your worship, I am very sure you may be wondering what you can do to ensure the safety of the police in order to protect our judges and to ensure that there is smooth justice delivery. Just express your worry about the killings of the police and I tell you that words of a person of your calibre will echo in all the corners of Ghana. Remember and always remember that the judge is only safe if the police is alive. Just say something, your worship and it will be enough.

Yours faithfully L/Cpl Daniel Kwofie (Ahanta)

Ghana Police Service/Peki


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