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Regional News of Monday, 23 August 2021

Source: Ilyaas Al-Hasan, Contributor

Seek to win public trust and confidence - CDA tells police

Salifu Issifu Kanton, Executive Director, CDA Salifu Issifu Kanton, Executive Director, CDA

Executive Director of Community Development Alliance, Salifu Issifu Kanton, has urged the Upper West Regional Police Commander to focus more on improving upon Police-Civilian relationship as well as inculcate policing values into Police officers for effective policing.

In what he described as a true test of leadership, Mr. Salifu charged ACP Ndekugri Anumbugre, the Regional Police Commander to as a matter of urgency, look at building a Policing team that has a democratic mentality different from the hitherto way of policing.

According to him, many Police officers appear to have very little understanding of the policing concept and what policing is all about.

He noted that the Police is a Service and not a Force and therefore requires the Police Service to establish some sort of rapport with civilians to make their work more meaningful, adding that the low police-civilian ratio means the Police would mostly depend on civilians to gather intelligence to fight crime.

He said there is no way Policing can be effective if the Police are not able to build public trust and confidence so much so that the public can willingly support their cause to better protect society.

He made these comments in an exclusive interview on Sunday, August 22, 2021, with this reporter.

"My first admonition to him is to focus on building Police-Civilian relationship and try instilling policing values in many of his staff particularly the junior ones who are coming up. A lot of them don't seem to have a full grasp of the concept of policing and all that policing is all about.

"It is not a Force but a Service and it becomes meaningful when you have a good relationship with civilians. We have low numbers of Police and will depend on information from civilians to gather intelligence to address crime," he explained.

Mr. Salifu Kanton was reacting to measures announced by the new Upper West Regional Police Commander to fight crime on Friday, August 20, at a media encounter in Wa.

Some of the measures outlined by the Police Chief amongst others include: ban on the riding of a motorbike by two young men after 6:30 pm, no tricycle driver who is not registered with a recognized union with clear identification will be allowed to operate, tricycle drivers below 17 years of age will be arrested and barred from operations, tricycles will not be allowed to travel out of the Wa Municipality after 8:00pm unless, with a Police escort, illegal parking on roads will also face stiffer sanctions and so on.

Reacting to the above measures, Mr. Salifu stated that such measures can only be enforced if they are backed by by-laws since according to him, the mandate of the Police is to enforce laws but not create them.

He said the Police can only enforce an action if it is either in the Constitution of the land or is classified as a by-law.

"When you want to enforce an action as a Police officer, that action is, either it's codified, it is a law you are enforcing because the Police's duty is to enforce laws. If it's not a law, then it has to be a by-law. Beyond these two remits, the Police cannot create laws unto themselves.

"They cannot because it's about people's rights and have been prescribed either in the Constitution or in statutes. So whatever action the Commander or IGP (Inspector General of Police) or whoever wants to take, his first basis must have to be based on law," he posited.

He argued that until such by-laws are enacted to back the aforementioned measures put in place by the Police, they would be deemed illegal since such measures are equally not supported by any law in the country.

Mr. Salifu, therefore, advised the Police to trigger the necessary processes involved to activate the required by-laws with the Wa Municipal Assembly to ensure the measures announced by the Police have the backing of the law.