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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Columnist: Daily Guide

Cape Coast Police why?

Opinion Opinion

The alleged murder of a certain Papa Mensah by some cops in Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital, is a source of worry. The crime has taken place in the early days of the assumption of office by the recently appointed Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor.

We can bet he would order an investigation into the case with a view to taking the necessary action against whoever was responsible for what befell the deceased.

The DAILY GUIDE report has it that the man was picked up in a random swoop by some policemen in the municipality and stripped naked. While we do not have anything against such operations which are intended to rid society of miscreants, we oppose any action which infringes upon the human rights of the people who are supposed to be protected anyway.

Indeed, it is only under states of emergency that some aspects of human rights are curtailed; and even under such circumstances, the curtailment is for limited periods subject to the approval or otherwise of Parliament.

Some bad cops act so unprofessionally that their actions tend to cast the law enforcement agency in bad light.

At the end of the day, we can guess that those who would be found culpable are some young police officers in the early stages of their career.

It is for this reason that we repeat that when such operations are being undertaken, the need to have senior NCOs leading should not be overlooked. Those with vast experience behind them and a respectable level of maturity would hardly descend to the depth of clubbing a suspect to death as in the case under review.

Commanders should take interest in the manner in which their men and women undertake their work, especially in random swoops.

It would be interesting to find out whether at the time of the arrest of the deceased he was armed with a firearm or even posed danger to the arresting officers. In the absence of threats to the lives of the arresting officers, what could have informed the kind of ordeal the deceased went through at the hands of his captors?

Modern world policing has gone past the colonial days fashion when escort cops, mostly discharged Royal West African Frontiers soldiers, were brawny about their work.

The use of minimal force as the last resort should be a constant reminder to cops always. The curricula at the training centres should have a concentrated dose of lessons in human rights and civility.

Allowing the image of the law enforcement agency to be tarnished by such occasional yet worrying and criminal aberrations would not inure to the advantage of the Ghana Police Service – an institution which good performance is in our national interest.

The Regional, Divisional and District Commanders in Cape Coast must all wake up and tackle the challenge that has been triggered. Death in the hands of a cop or cops is unacceptable, especially under the circumstances aforementioned.