You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2017 07 30Article 564293

Opinions of Sunday, 30 July 2017

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

Open letter to the Inspector General of Police

Bonjour Monsieur Inspecteur Général de Police,

I wish I could write to you in French but I have the premonition that it will not be published if I did hence choosing to go the usual way of the Queen’s English.

I knew since five years or so ago that Nana Akufo-Addo would appoint you the Inspector General of Police if he became the President of Ghana. This was confided to me by a reliable ex- Police officer of whom I speak highly about being a man of integrity. How he came to tell me about you should not be a subject for public consumption but to remain confidential.

For Nana Akufo-Addo to have had you in mind, and planned such a big position for you, goes to indicate that he had seen a quality in you that if exploited to the maximum, could yield better returns to not only him and his administration but also, to the entire country. Therefore, you have to live up to that unique expectation and trust.

How can you help him achieve his dreams as vividly made public through his electioneering promises and NPP campaign manifestoes? Mind you, it is said, “Good intentions alone cannot bring about the world peace”. However, intentions backed by practicalities do. Therefore, you, knowing why he designated you for the post long before he actually succeeded in his yearned aspiration to be elected the President of Ghana on Wednesday, 7 December 2016, must please endeavour to fulfil the trust he has reposed in you. What it is, I don’t know. However, it could not be far or different from what I shall shortly be putting forward or discussing.

As we are in a democracy but not a dictatorship or a military regime, the police are constitutionally bestowed with the powers to protect the President and by and large, the citizens of Ghana. You as the head of the police are to guarantee the safety and protection of the President in particular, and Ghanaians and their properties in general.

How do you do the above requirement when lawlessness, lynching and especially armed robberies, are on the ascendancy? You are very much aware of the fact that prevalence of peace and tranquillity and safety of the citizenry goes a long way to tell or measure how successful one’s presidency or administration has been. This is in addition to creating jobs for the people to better their standard of living and curtailing or wiping off institutional corruption and other criminal practices from the society.

If one is not safe inside and outside their home due to the fear of being attacked by thieves and armed robbers, how will they have confidence in the President and his government for doing a brilliant job? Is it not a popular saying among some Ghanaians that if you are hungry but feel safe and are peaceful, you are much happier?

Understandably, people’s conditions are getting worse before they hopefully get better owing to the corrupt and incompetent administration by the previous government that deliberately or inadvertently encouraged thievery and institutional corruption that led to embezzlement of State funds and assets hence the depletion of the State coffers. It will be a double slap in the face should the citizenry suffer exacerbating nuisance and lethal armed robberies while they are bearing with President Nana Akufo-Addo to secure loans/money to create jobs and to carry out projects to better their living circumstances.

It is in this critical situation that I should like to see you be on top of your duties for the President to realise his objective of appointing you the Inspector General of Police. Be the shoulder he cries on when it comes to the maintenance of peace and security, the derailment of which the armed robbers and other categories of thieves are relentlessly pursuing by the nature of their most condemnable activities.

Let me suggest two things to you in case you will see any sense in them and adopt them accordingly.

Firstly, you are in the process of creating a special office or department where you want the public to phone in to report on people or their neighbours suspected of their involvement in armed robberies or some crimes spurned by the State. This is a noble idea in the right direction to fighting crimes in Ghana. However, many are the Ghanaians having no trust in the police for a number of reasons among which are:

A. Some of the police personnel are suspected to liaise with the criminals hence may divulge the identities of those reporting them to the criminals to endanger the lives of the informants.

B. Some of the police personnel are themselves criminals so may not be happy about some concerned citizens reporting on criminals to spoil their nefarious activities. Have some security personnel not been arrested for armed robberies and other crimes? Are the police not obviously corrupt and accepting bribes on roadsides and in their stations?

To enable the public report on criminals in safety and anonymously, I shall ask that the government orders the creation of a number that will permit a caller to hide their identity and phone number when they dial in to report on a criminal. In the United Kingdom when you precede your dialling phone number by 141, the caller’s identity is concealed from the receiver. Some phones and some countries are still able to reveal the caller’s number even if the caller tries to hide it in the way as done in the UK.

Subsequently, I shall advise that the idea of registering all SIM cards must be abrogated. That will be the only sure way that one is certain to report anonymously on criminals without their identity and whereabouts ever being known. The pay-as-you-go SIM cards which registrations were made obligatory following someone stupidly sending the nation into panic mode by falsely announcing the imminent occurrence of an earthquake some years back, probably during the era of the late President Mills, must be revisited. Whichever decision we take, there will be advantages and disadvantages but we have to weigh one against the other to know which path is better to go for. With unregistered SIM card, one can confidently anonymously report on a criminal of any sort.

Secondly, let the IGP focus a minute on what used to go on in France some years back. Whenever the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), the supposedly Algerian terrorist group started throwing bombs in Paris or France in the 1980s and 1990s, the French government would order the soldiers out of their barracks to assist the police. For brief periods of three months at a time whenever there was escalation in bomb throwing or terrorist activities on the French soil, the soldiers would come out in their numbers to give support to the police to deter or stop the acts of terrorism.

In those days, the soldiers would be assigned to the police and placed under their command. Wherever you saw two or three policemen, there would be about six to ten heavily armed soldiers. Anyone they suspected would be confronted or approached and searched in the open public for all to see. Their presence and conduct were more than enough to frighten the shit out of people hence in less than three months the situation would revert to normalcy and the soldiers gone back to their barracks. The soldiers in such operations took instructions from the police.

With the ongoing scary armed robberies and other types of thievery, why can’t the IGP suggest to the President for Ghana to emulate the French in the 1980s and 90s? Once the soldiers are placed under the command of the police personnel they will be assigned to, and go out with, it will be more than enough to reassure the citizenry that we are still under a civilian rule but not a military regime. Trust me, within three months should my suggestion be taken if found worthy to the IGP and the President, the armed robberies will be drastically curtailed if not completely stopped to become a thing of the past.

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Inspecteur Général de Police,

Aurevoir.
Rockson Adofo