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Opinions of Thursday, 8 November 2018

Columnist: David Fianko- Okyere

Pips is rather effective

Ghana Police21 File Photo

I write to express my opinion about the news item with a headline “PIPS now ineffective, Establish Independent Police Complaint Authority-CHRI to Government “Written by Fredrick E. Aggrey and published in the Chronicle Newspaper page 13 of Friday, November 2nd 2018.

Though the headlined did its work of attracting my attention to read the full story, frankly the reasons outlined for an independent body on the subject matter could not convince me to support the agenda.

In fact the explanation for the independent body as captured in the introduction of the story attributed to CHRI Africa head in the following words “the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative hence her call on the government to establish an Independent Police Complaints Authority(IPCA) to effectively deal with complainants against the police , since the Police Intelligence And Professional Standards(PIPS) , now police Professional Standards Bureau(PPSB),has become an ineffective unit “ left me with no option than to say that the findings are misleading and not representative of pips of Ghana Police Service I know off.

Though I’m yet to search for the full report I think based on the news reportage I read, it is unfair to the police administration and the majority of Ghanaians who have found justice at PIPS on complaints they have filed against the police.

To say categorically that the PIPS of Ghana Police Service have become ineffective to buttress ta point of independent police complaint body at this time where even civilians prefer to lodge their initial complaints with them because of their proven track record of given fair treatment is just like the adage ‘give the cat a bad name so it can be killed’.

In as much as I welcome every effort to get non police personnel in the investigation of complaints against police I do not think that running down the existing unit justify the need for an independent body is the best option.

I therefore suggest that the CHRI – Africa head come again with another solid reason for the need for an independent body to address complaints against police as this argument she puts forward is a bit weak.

I believe sincerely that the source should have equally spoken about the success story of PIIPS and still called for all inclusive approach to the independent body.

This is because at least from PIPS to PPSB, there are many success stories for Ghana Police Service when it comes to investigations and sanctions of public against police personnel to the extent that some personnel thinks the unit are sympathetic to the public done its own men .

I believe the quality of police commanders that has headed that unit in the past and present has worked professionally to win the confidence of most Ghanaians.

SO, for anybody to think that PPSB has become ineffective may have to prove beyond reasonable doubt with some strong evidence for it to be accepted.

Her assertion that the unit has become part of the normal police unit which only seem to cover up for members of the service who fall foul to the law can only be her opinion since as far as I am aware .

In fact media reportages shows that the unit has dealt with personnel according to the law in many times where some defaulting member s of police service have had their names published with the type of sanctions against their names in the media, including handing some over to the law courts for necessary actions.

Anyway madam, it’s unfortunate you personally sent a case to PIPS which it failed to handle, but you would have done us a favor if you told us the kind of case and why they failed to handle it so some of us could take the matter up since we believe that the unit in question has been proactive.

I have also been informed by an aggrieved complainant about her satisfaction with pips where they for him to identify the police officer in resolving the matter.

I think that advocating for an independent complaint body is a laudable idea as it brings balance but to say that is because PPSB has not been effective as a reason for that purpose is not right.

Yes, it’s good for independent body including police officers and civilian public but to suggest that the existing unit pips protects its own is not realistic since there is evidence in the media about the professional manner in which the pips handled an alleged police officer stripping a taxi driver somewhere in Anyaa Accra and the infamous police officer beaten of a woman at a bank attest to the fact that the police PPSB need commendation than condemnation just to support the need for an independent body.

David Fianko- Okyere

opomeabakwabena@gmail.com