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Opinions of Saturday, 3 March 2018

Columnist: Issah Fuseini

Should the Police service be made to carry the cross?

The government of Ghana gave authorisation for the formation of a special police force devoted specifically to handling counter-insurgency since 2016 under the leadership of former President John Dramani Mahama.

The Ghana Police Service is in need of a thorough and comprehensive reform that will equip, enable and motivate officers to fulfil their constitutional roles. This reform is urgently needed to restore the credibility and integrity of the police. The reform should aim at putting in place an effective police system with competent, courageous, committed and incorruptible officers.

The fundamental issue is recognition by the police service that they need to change their orientation and engage in democratic reform of the institution. We need a Police Service that is well motivated, people friendly, open, accountable, relaxed and honest with itself and the public.

The President set up Committee that should among other things be tasked with strengthening the capacity of the police service to maintain law and order in the society, tasked with the responsibility of examining the current state of the security outfit and review all previous efforts, reports, and Government White Papers on the reorganization, restructuring and repositioning of the Ghana Police Service. Such a reform is long overdue considering the current working conditions members of the police service are subjected to on a daily basis.

I believe that, what the police service need right now is total revamping and complete overhaul of all its structures. The way and manner in which police are recruited into the service is questionable, the criminals sacrifice to have their members infiltrated into the police in other to feed them with the necessary information that make their works very easy.

Most of the commanders in charge of region and districts need to be reexamine again, because the information available to me indicate that, some of the police commanders give instruction to the patrol teams directing them as to where they should patrol and where they should avoid.

Clearly, the roles and functions of the Ghana Police Service should be broadened and redefined to include among others; the environment, the support of victims of crimes and disorder, observing and protection of citizens’ human rights, prompt response to call for assistance by citizens in distress.

The laws that set out the functions, powers and philosophy of the police and policing in Ghana must be reviewed and made clearer. I also suggest that there should be an improvement in salary and compensation levels for the men and women of the Ghana Police Service. Policemen and women must be well paid in

order for them to perform effectively, efficiently and honestly. The men and women should be motivated through proper pay, transport and living conditions. There should be proper schemes of work covering medical, education, car loans etc for the men and women of the police service who sacrifice their lives in protecting the citizens of this country.

The Ghana Police Service should be adequately equipped. They should move fromnanalog to digital communication systems. They should be equipped with modern quality weapons and adequately trained to use these weapons. Additionally, they must get bullet proof vests, surveillance equipment, CCTVs, hand held equipments such as ‘walkie talkies’, vehicles, police dogs, motocycles and bicycles.

We should also consider computerization of police work especially in the regional capitals as a start and a must. The Ghana Police Service needs a national fingerprint and DNA database and national database for convicted people. This is a must in modern day policing. We must have more police per head of population.

We simply do not have enough police personnel in Ghana. However, there should be a very strict code on recruitment in order to avoid the situation of recruiting and putting criminals in
uniforms on our streets. The Ghana Police Service should weed out corruption in the recruitment process. The current system is tinged with too much corruption. Avoid tribalism in police recruitment.

I conclusion, politicians should also shake their hands off the process of recruitment into the service so that criminals covering themselves with political colours may not find themselves recruited into the service.

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