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Opinions of Sunday, 12 June 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Tips to Ghana Police about catching the notorious armed robbers

Being security knowledgeable myself, and having the greatest love for all Ghanaians and humanity in general, with ever growing aspiration to be of service to my nation and people, especially the downtrodden masses, I shall suggest to the police the following.

In their quest and appeal to the public to volunteer information leading to arresting the notorious armed robbers terrorising the good and innocent people of Ghana, especially the citizens of Ashanti region, my place of birth, I shall not hesitate a second to allow them avail themselves of my overflowing fountain of wisdom, intelligence and expertise.

• Are some of the police personnel not established or perceived to be armed robbers themselves, or liaising with criminals hence divulging any intelligence information, thus, tip-offs, about the criminals to them in secret and in advance?

• How comfortable, safe and secure will the supposed informants be, passing on information about the identities and the hideouts of suspected criminals, or armed robbers to be precise, to the police, if some of the police are themselves working for, or with, the armed robbers?

• Was there not an instance, a few years ago, of a nocturnal highwayman, an armed robber of course, turning out to be an active serving policeman at Effiduase in the Ashanti region when he was arrested between Akotosu and Wonoo on the Effiduase – Kumawu road? Has it not recently been announced to the whole nation that one sacked policeman of northern extraction has turned into a dangerous armed robber?

• For the police tarnishing their own image and reputation by being overtly corrupt, taking bribes and involving in criminal activities as hereby specified, how can the public approach them in confidence and in secret to pass on any tip-offs about notorious criminals?

• Do our court judges also not accept bribes of all sorts to set these criminals free when arraigned before them? With all these, how can we overpower for good these criminals turned into callous armed robbers who are ever increasingly ready to not only steal from, but also, maim and kill, their victims?

1) I suggest that the telephone lines/numbers providers are obliged to unanimously dedicate a number that one will key in before dialling any dedicated phone number or line assigned for anonymously informing on criminals or armed robbers. This will hide the caller’s (informer’s) identity from the police or whoever he/she is calling to. With this, it can boost the confidence of informants of never having their identities revealed to the criminals they are informing on by whomever.

2) The police must have about two or three centres where any information passed on to them will instantly be registered. This will make it difficult for whoever (the policeman) receiving the information to not act on it or to rather tip off the suspect instead of going after him or her. This is because it will not be only one officer or centre having knowledge of the tip-off.

3) In the absence of having a nationally-assigned phone number e.g. 141 as in the United Kingdom, the government can relax its stringent rule of obliging all mobile phone SIM cards to be registered to the buyer’s details – name, home address, and date of birth and upon provision of an identity card. The said number as in the case of the United Kingdom as cited above, will hide the phone number of the caller from the receiver. This, when used in good faith, can encourage more informants to secretly pass on information to the police about the identity, location and movements of an armed robber or any other notorious criminal, in the total belief that their identity will never be known to, or be revealed to the armed robber on whom they have reported.

4) Every calling number is traceable in the extreme of cases but the amount of money (expenditure) involved in tracing an unknown number is great hence does not worth the bother doing it except the damage caused is immense and worth spending whatever sum of money is needed to investigate it than letting it go.

5) There must be constant public radio education on the need and greater benefits of exposing criminals within our midst. This will sensitize the public to come out with information anonymously on suspected criminals in the society.

6) Anyone known to be way out leaving beyond their means, moving out from their homes in awkward times of the day, must be secretly reported to the police or soldiers or the BNI.

7) The police must publish the names and pictures of all wanted suspects in the media; newspapers, television, online news portals and on the social media. This will help make it difficult for the armed robbers to come out to operate in the daring way they are currently noted for.

8) All communities are to form Vigilante groups, using honest compatriots who are bold men and women, to help protect lives, properties and prevent crimes from being committed in the first place.

To conclude, it will take all Ghanaians or people in a community acting concertedly, to remove that ongoing canker of armed robbery from our midst. Let us report any police officer when they are acting criminally; taking bribes from drivers or involving themselves in other crimes. Let us report judges when they are seen to be taking bribes to set the criminals free.

How do we report these enforcers of the law when they are themselves breaking the laws, one may ask? Phone into a radio station, withhold your number if my suggestion above is accepted and becomes practically operational, and mention their names and what they have done provided the radio presenter will allow it.

Radio presenters, please allow people to inform the public of the names of people committing crimes against the people and the State.

I shall be back on this same subject.

Rockson Adofo