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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.

The Scary Mask Wearing Police Officers In Ghana

From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

News reports of police officers involved in certain arrests of politicians and innocent individuals in Ghana of alleged crimes is gradually giving the uniform officers and men out as not law abiding officers in our country.
They are described as law enforcement agency, but looking critically at their way of operations these days will create a doubt in your mind that really they are law enforcement agency ensuring that in line of their duty of providing adequate security for all their actions are fully executed by law.
This may sound a bit harsh on the police service especially where I have been seriously criticized for attacking the blue uniform police men. But let me ask you the simple question. Suppose the over all boss of these “KOTI” people found me committing a crime don’t you think he will put the “ABANKABA” on my hands and parade me through the streets?
Here you go, so I have to also put things to him where they are not being executed right for him to know and ensure that they done properly for all to have trust and confidence in them. Now that you are with me let us go onto the real issue and discuss it further.
Last week Ghanaians were taken aback by the arrest of minority Member of Parliament [MP] for Abuakwa South otherwise known as Kyebi, Mr. Atta Akyea. As I was trying not to read any politics into this suppose arrest or invitation or whatever, I went crazy by some submissions made by NDC gurru on a radio station that the minority could not do FOKO.
Oh so some NDC hawks have started to draw the political lines? Then why don’t I also read politics into the story? But sorry my very good friend Lawyer Egbert Faible Junior has done justice to that already on news file programme on Joy F.M. on July 16, 2011 so I do not need to dilute it further.
Now let us look at the action taken by the police and ask ourselves whether it was a law abiding action or just a lone ranger somewhere thinking when donning the blue uniform and feel the invocation of powers of dictatorship took the laws into his own hands and caused that disgraceful act to shame all of us.
I am not a lawyer by profession and for that matter can not interpret the law in anyway. But listening to the lawyers on the programme it became clear that the police did not follow the due process of the law before taking that barbaric act of arresting the minority MP.
Why, they were supposed to seek the permission of the speaker of parliament her lordship Justice Mrs. Joyce Adeline Bamford Addo, to notify the MP to respond to the invitation by the police to help them investigate the alleged crime. But, no they took the law into their own hands and took that barbaric act of arresting the MP.
When police officers use brutal force in discharging their duties in the country it causes a whole lot of absurdity and in a minute I will show you why.
A case in point is the story which appeared in Toronto Sun newspaper of July 18, 2011 where three people who were nabbed over 18 million drug plant were acquitted and discharged after a judge ruled their constitutional rights were violated by police misconduct and misleading testimonies.
The Ontario Superior Court which was prosecuting the case brought before it heard that earlier this month two police officers from York Region executed an unlawful search after they spotted a van outside a garage at particular address in Scarborough.
According to the story, one of the officers testified that he had a” hunch” a burglary was being committed so he executed a search without a warrant. THE UNDERLINING WORD HER IS SEARCH WITHOUT A WARRANT.
Because the police officer executed the search without a warrant, the judge who was hearing the case found the actions of the two police officers violated the charter rights of those who were charged.
Now you see where the officers and men of the Ghana Police Service usually violate the constitution of Ghana? No one is above the law especially where the constitution clearly stipulates that “before a certain arrest or call it invitation of a citizenry could be effected by the police a warrant must be issued by a competent court, it must be followed” period.
There are so many discrepancies on the side of the Ghana Police Service that it is time they are properly educated about the provisions in the constitution which guides their duties as security men.
Go to some communities and villages where the people do not know their rights, an officer will pick a gun and follow a woman who has come to lodge complain that her husband was not contributing to the upkeep of the house and this officer will lead the woman to go and,” threaten’ this innocent man.
In some villages, police charge offices have been turned into court rooms where officers and men sit on complaints and pass judgment where facts are twisted and money collected by creating the fear that if the matter forwarded to court, accuse persons would be thrown into jail.
The arrest or invitation or whatever of the law maker is not the case but the failure by the uniform police men to follow due process of the law in handling the matter is what matters here.
The Ghana Police service should remove the scary looking musk they are wearing in an attempt to cow every body down by using brute force in discharging their duties and start learning how to discharge their duties by following due process of the law.