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Opinions of Friday, 28 November 2014

Columnist: Avuyi, Paul Neveme

Issues Of Concern

February 12, 2013
Your Excellency,
Issues Of Concern
I respectfully wish to congratulate you on your appointment to the high office of the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana.
May you enjoy the grace and mercy of the Supreme God. His divine light, love and power surround you as you confront national challenges that lie ahead.
As the Chairman of the Police Council, I wish to take this opportunity to draw your attention to some critical issues concerning the Ghana Police Services (GPS). These issues of concern are:
A. Lack of Accountability and Transparency
Since the inception of the Fourth Republic, the GPS has been generating a lot of internal financial resources which have not been accounted for. The resources are listed below:-
• The Police Endowment Fund and Sports Fund. Police Welfare Fund.
• Fees collected in respect of police reports, CID/police criminal check certificate, fingerprints for employment and police enlistment.
• UN peacekeeping mission deductions of USD 100.00 (One thousand US Dollars) per officer for one year tour of duty and extra for extensions.
• Welfare Scheme deductions which currently stands at 50GHC (fifty Ghana Cedis) per officer per month. With a total strength of more than 23,000 officers, more than 1,150,000.00 (one million, one hundred and fifty Ghana Cedis) is realized every month.
• Monthly fees paid by Commercial/ Rural Banks and some Financial Institutions for daily police guards.
How these monies are used and accounted for is shrouded in secrecy. There is no known provision in the Police Service Act or the new CI 76 regulating their collection, use and accountability. On the other hand, there is no empirical evidence that the Auditor-General has been carrying out annual auditing of these incomes and presenting findings to the Police Council or the Parliament for scrutiny. Annual police reports are silent on total amounts these incomes generate and expenditure. It is worth noting that a small percentage of these resources allocated to development projects like the completion of the abandoned buildings at the National Headquarters including the Domestic Violence & Victim Support Unit Secretariat and for starting new ones or rebuilding the grossly dilapidated buildings in which Instructors at the National Training School/Depot live would have been very beneficial. Furthermore, not even a percentage of the large peacekeeping contributions could be used in building a national monument in memory of officers who died in the mission field. There is the urgent need to make transparency, probity and accountability one of the pillars of police administration.
B. Lack of Positive Reforms
The recently promulgated CI 76 leaves much to be desired. The 18 page Police Service Act 350/70 is archaic and unsuitable for use as the legal framework for policing in a constitutional democratic environment. Thus the GPS remains a weak institution. Not much was done to institutionalize some critical recommendations contained in the Justice Archer Commission Report/White Paper. The GPS is in dire need of positive reforms which should be founded on a dynamic legal framework embodying clear and new provisions on the following:
• A well defined Structure & Establishment for the two main branches- Uniform & CID.
• A decentralized structure and establishment at all Station, District, Divisional/Regional and Unit levels with its component for jurisdictions, strength, job descriptions and criteria/ competencies for appointments into positions/posts at these levels.
• A redefined Statutory Functions and Policing Philosophy.
• Protection of fundamental human rights and civil liberties of all persons, arrest, detention and treatment of offenders: conduct of swoops, stop and searches.
• Crime surveys and audits and crime reduction targets.
• Good governance, accountable leadership, accountability and transparency
• Annual reports with defined contents.
• Term/ security of office of the IGP including job description, criteria for nomination, selection, experience, qualification, competencies and accountabilities. His/her power and authority properly define to check abuse of power and dictatorship as well as removal from office.
• Criteria for appointment of Headquarters Schedule Officers, job descriptions, competencies and accountabilities.
• Separate disciplinary regulations and procedures for junior and senior officers.
• Regulatory framework for Neighborhood Watch Association.
• Use of force and firearms and police brutality.
• Civilianization of Units like Projects/ Estate, Finance, Procurement, Mechanical, Pensions, IT, Research, Catering and Audit etc. Why should personnel offering civilian support services be clothed in police uniforms and housed at a great cost.
• Complete insulation of the GPS from government/ political party control and influence.
• Requirements/ Criteria for the establishment of police station, district and division.
• Code of conduct and conflict of interest.
• Creation, management and disposal of Records.
• Gender equity, sexual harassment, definition of offences and penalties.
• Top decision making bodies at national, divisional and district levels with their power and authority clearly defined.
In dealing with the above issues, it is worth noting that enlistments, promotions, transfers, UN peacekeeping mission selections, examinations/ selection to the police college, grant of study leave have remained questionable and corruption-tainted over years. The Ag.IGP should get a team to quickly probe these irregularities.
In the light of the foregoing, I strongly recommend for your consideration, the following measures:-
• Against the backdrop of the Constitutional principles of probity, transparency and accountability, experts from a private audit firm with good track record should be appointed to conduct a comprehensive Forensic Audit and probe into the Services financial administration, procurements, ration payments, cost of transfers and all the internally generated financial resources mentioned in paragraph A.
• Appointment of a seven member Police Reform Implementation Committee which should be charged to consider the issues raised under paragraph B and draft a comprehensive legal framework/ new Police Service Act to serve as a cornerstone for a strong and dynamic police institution in an emerging constitutional democracy which would stand the test of time .We should add value to our policing for present and future generations.
Our growing urban and rural communities are in need of visible police officers on patrols at the highways, university campuses, schools, streets, alleys, market places and lorry parks. And not officers guarding commercial banks and performing support functions in uniform.
By Copy of this letter, I humbly entreat the Acting IGP, Mr. M.A Alhassan to provide his comments and recommendations on the issues I have raised.
I pray that the issues I have raised would meet your favorable consideration and further action.
The Lord richly bless you and our motherland, Ghana.
Yours in the Service of Ghana,

Paul Neveme Avuyi/ Supt. Rtd.
(Cell phone: 0244010839)