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Opinions of Friday, 22 November 2013

Columnist: Kofi Thompson

Use Google's smartphone policing application to fight corruption at Ghana's ports

By Kofi Thompson

An experiment by Google Ideas and the Rio de Janeiro-based think thank, the Igarape Institute, in which a smartphone policing application uploads encrypted video footage, of police on foot patrol in the farvellas of Rio de Janeiro interacting with residents, to a cloud server, ought to be studied by the Ghanaian authorities.

It could help eliminate most of the corruption in the country's ports and other entry points. As it improves oversight over customs officers (and members of the other security agencies) on the ground who interact with the general public, by their commanders at headquarters, it would also help protect those officers from false allegations of unlawful conduct made against them by the public.

The Google smart policing application could also be a perfect tool for tackling indiscipline amongst members of the various security agencies in our country - and prevent the abominable and unspeakable horrors we heard being recounted by brutalised victims of prison officers, police officers and soldiers, who appeared before the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC).

The fact that customs, police and immigration officers posted to even the remotest entry points along Ghana's borders, could be monitored in real time by their commanders at headquarters, makes the Google smart policing application a powerful and relatively inexpensive tool to fight corruption at Ghana's ports and other entry points along our country's borders. One hopes the powers that be will take this up with Google Ideas as spoon as practicable. A word to the wise...