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General News of Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

No excuse for 538 police mass transfer - Security expert

Security analyst, Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning has expressed concern about the security implications of transferring 538 police officers from the Upper West region, arguing the region needs more not less.

In an interview on News Desk report on Joy News Wednesday, the Director at Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre said, growing security challenges in the region should command the attention and investment of government.

The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, had issued a distressed call to the Interior Ministry to pay attention to the region's security. He said only 917 police officers remained in the region after 538 were moved over the past two years.

There used to be 1,500 personnel in 2015, he said and bemoaned, the transferred officers have not been replaced exposing the residents to criminals.

Weighing in on the development, Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning pointed out, the low security presence could not have come at a worse time in the region. "We are seeing the weaponization of our daily implement" in criminal attacks involving the use of farm implements like cutlasses.

Only last week, a 33-year old man was jailed 25 years after inflicting cutlass wounds on a student at the University for Development Studies. He has been jailed thrice in five years.

He said attention needs to be paid to potential terror threats because there are clandestine efforts to radicalize the population.

In view of these threats, "there is no excuse for removing" the officers. Painting a larger picture of Ghana's security problems, the security analyst said as far back as 1997, a report, Archer Commission revealed the country needed 40,000 police officers.

This recommendation and others contained in the report was ignored, he said. Fast forward 30 years later, Ghana with an increased population still has less than it even needed in 1997.

"What is happening now is not a surprise.

"We are in a 21st century Ghana without a 21st-century police service" because "we have not invested in our security", Dr Aning said.

He said civil society groups ought to be putting pressure on parliament's Defence and Interior committee to demand of government, a well-resourced police force.

He said the shooting of a police officer at Lapaz in Accra, shows once again, the officers need more protective gear replete with the latest technology for combating crime.

"It is not just about the actual men on the ground. It is about communication, transportation body amour cameras".

Dr Kwesi Aning said the public should take seriously, a plea from the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Appeatu for public support.

"This is a police officer who is begging and desperate for public support and understanding of the inability of the police to do their job as optimally as possible," he defended the service.