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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Columnist: Amankwah, Nana Kofi

Police Are Not Civil Servants

The system of our government is not decentralization where the regions have their own powers to finance their police departments. In some of the western countries like United States or even Nigeria, where the federal government does not have absolute control over its police force. In Ghana the government structures have been centralized.

In essence the police service in Ghana should not be classified as civil servant as many citizens have categorized it. They are all government workers but their tasks are different. They have the mandate from the constitution as the law enforcement personnel to protect citizens and enforce laws while maintaining peace for the country. They need to be respected by Ghanaians. Unfortunately many Ghanaians do not respect their hard work, which is wrong for the image which they represent. Recently I visited the Akyem Oda area where armed robberies have taken place. I wanted to find out what the police are doing to stop these criminals. As I drove during the night, I realized that police officers have set barriers every five miles as check points to inspect those coming in and going out from these areas. At some check points areas they have vehicles waiting to take on any necessary actions. Some communities in Ghana have voluntary night guards to protect their town and villages from criminals who are killing innocent people, which is working very effectively. I visited the police headquarters to interview some officers about those police officers who have engaged in criminal activities within the forces. What are they doing to them if they find any criminal wrong doing among them? These officers said that they are anxious for themselves because their bosses have established informants within their various departments so you don’t know who is watching you. These officers told me the police commissioner of operations has kept their eyes open twenty-four hours a day to watch their personal activities. I acknowledge that there are many foreign nationals mostly from other African countries who are in the country engaging in criminal activities such as car theft, armed robberies and killings innocent people. This is a serious dilemma for the entire police department across the country, but when I interviewed some junior officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) I found out that their deputy Commissioner of the (CID) Mr. Patrick E Timbilliah was the force behind all the good work from its department. This individual works 14 hours a day including weekends; he is a great patriot for the country and the police department. The policies they have put in place has brought significant changes in their day-to-day activities in the whole police service across the country. Such individuals should not be pigeonholed an as civil servants; they worked more than their regular hours to protect the interest of the country. He and other commissioners from others regions have worked hard to reduce crime in the country drastically.

From; Nana Kofi Amankwah (New York)

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