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Opinions of Sunday, 31 May 2009

Columnist: Asamoah, Gordon Newlove

Treat Ghana Police With Dignity

As I was watching TV3 Prime Time News on Saturday, 23rd May, 2009, a perfect picture of the Police Barracks I lived in when I was young, was playing right in front of me. A very weak and leaky building, some children of Policemen sleeping in the corridors (varanda boys).

If I thought those conditions were bad, then that News item revealed to me that I was living in a paradise police barracks.

The Ghana police have lost their dignity and respect as everybody insults them and say all sorts of things against them. Some of the things people accuse them of doing range from bribery to robbery. Our society frowns on those vices especially since the police are supposed to serve as the keepers and enforcers of the laws of the land.

But as the saying goes, “there is no smoke without fire”. Who caused the police to be corrupt?

The police service is and remains one of the most disciplined and obedient institutions in the country. They work under very harsh conditions: low salaries, lack of accommodation, lack of facilities among others.

Successive governments have paid lip services to the police to bring improvement but their conditions keep deteriorating every year, yet nobody seems to realise the invaluable services that the Police service render to the nation.

I have never heard the Police service contemplating on going on strike (I stand to be corrected), let alone embarking on one. Is this the reason why governments have taken the police for granted? Can we imagine the chaos that the country will experience if the police decide to go on strike? Yet it seems that is what they governments want to see happen. This is not good enough for the country. Doctors threaten and the government is shaking, but the police provide equally, if not better essential services to the country.

If the NDC government has not yet seen the plight of the Ghana Police Service, then I wish to bring this to their attention for prompt action. President Mills, the Police Service need offices, more personnel, accommodation, patrol cars, equipment and most importantly, improvement in their salaries and general conditions of service.

The Police are supposed to provide service with integrity, but can this happen in vacuum? The temptation to take bribe is extremely high, so if the government want to do away with corruption, then the police should be rewarded adequately. The Police cannot go hungry when there are people willing to offer them the bribes.

I also urge the public to show more support to the Police and give the Police the due respect that they deserve, for they provide invaluable services to the nation, sometimes at the perils of their own lives. Help the Police to provide service with integrity.

By Gordon Newlove Asamoah

(Lecturer and Public Policy Analyst) KNUST School of Business, Kumasi