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Opinions of Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Columnist: Oduro, Belinda Dentaa

Open Letter to the IGP, Ghana Police Service

Open Letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ghana Police Service

Dear IGP,

Your officers have gone rogue.

I apologise if that sounds harsh but I really do not know how else to describe some of your officers after the Cal Bank Shooting (

First, an officer of yours gets upset with someone and opens fire inside a banking hall without a care to the fact that there were other customers in the bank. Then, a PRO of your office chooses to brand the target of the shooting as a suspected armed robber, a suspicious person and finally an innocent person, without even apologising for the first 2 names he (the PRO) called him. Honestly, it makes me wonder:

1. What qualifies a person to be accepted into the Ghana Police Service?

2. What qualifies an officer of the Ghana Police Service to be given a firearm?

3. What qualifies an officer to be called a PRO of the Ghana Police Service?

4. When a person identifies him/herself as a PRO of the Ghana Police Service, when he/she speaks about a police case publicly, does that mean his/her words echo your thoughts as IGP? If so, DSP Freeman Tettey is belittling your thought processes.

5. If there is a case involving two civilians, and the Ghana Police Service through its PRO decides to comment, does the PRO speak about what only one party said, or does the PRO speak about what both parties said, or does the PRO remain silent and say the police service will comment after investigations are complete?

6. Should the same in 5. above apply when the case involves one policeman and one civilian?

7. If a PRO of the Ghana Police Service speaks, and there is no counter information from the IGP or a representative of the IGP, does that mean the IGP spoke through the PRO?

8. Does DSP Freeman Tettey have PR training? If so, where did he receive his PR training from?

9. DSP Freeman Tettey said last week after he was done with all his name calling that the police were waiting for the CCTV footage from Cal Bank. Has the Ghana Police Service been able to review the CCTV footage of Cal Bank?

10. If the Ghana Police Service has reviewed the CCTV footage of Cal Bank from the day of the incident, am I pushing in asking that we (Ghanaians) wish to hear what the police service has to say after their review of the footage? Or was it apt on the part of the Ghana Police Service though DSP Freeman Tettey to attempt to ruin a person's reputation when no footage had been seen, but after reviewing the footage (video evidence) that may vindicate a suspected armed robber, the police service keeps mum on the issue? Even DSP Freeman Tettey, who has had so much to say has gone silent.

11. Finally, as IGP, how do you advise your men to handle suspected armed robbers?

Does the Ghana Police Service ever apologise when all shows and proves that the service was wrong? I ask this because, I picked up the Daily Graphic today and there was a story that had me laughing all day. Story was captioned "Campaign to boost public confidence in police starts tomorrow" (

Writing it out here has got me laughing so hard some more. Oh my! Looks like I'm getting all teary eyed.


You care what the public thinks about the police? You haven't acted like it at all. How about we ask families of persons who have been shot dead by police officers and have been told the person shot by the police was actually an armed robber, when all indications show the person was most likely killed by a stray bullet. Ask them what they think about the police. I am going too far. How about we ask someone who was shot in a banking hall by a police officer just because he could, and just when he thought it was just one police officer with issues, he hears the next morning that a PRO of the police service obviously speaking for you, IGP and for the whole police service calling him a suspected armed robber, and then video evidence which has obviously vindicated him is watched by the police and none of them, not even their vociferous PRO has anything to say. Ask him how he feels about the police. And oh, ask an innocent man who was placed in Nsawam prison on remand for 14 years and having 2 of his finger nails plucked out by police officers how he feels about the police.

It doesn't hurt to say, I was wrong, I am sorry. It doesn't hurt to say my man/men made a mistake, please accept my apology. Until the police learn to get off their high horse and do that, I'm sorry (see how easy that was to say) what you are trying to do, will remain a joke to a whole bunch of us. In other words, it will fail abysmally. We are human, we are all fallible. Accepting that is the first step to being a better person/institution.

I however haven't forgotten that, "there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but let there never be a time when we fail to protest".

Yours sincerely,

Efua Dentaa.

P.S. Why am I going off on this whole PR thing? Well, let's see, could be because I hold an MPhil in the subject.

And oh, the person your officer shot and wounded who was called a suspected armed robber still has shrapnel (bullet fragments) in both legs that doctors say is not advisable to remove as their removal might lead to other complications. Imagine living the rest of your life knowing you have foreign unwanted material (bullet parts) in your body (the psychological trauma!).