Monday, 5 September 2016

Ensuring Efficient And Respectable Police Service

A couple of incidents that occurred recently paint a very unfortunate and disappointing picture of the Ghana Police Service. Two suspected armed robbers who attacked a bullion van in Donkorkrom in the Eastern Region were identified as Policemen. Two other Policemen were also involved in a six-member car-snatching syndicate in Accra. It may be recalled that in 2009, there was a proposed ‘Performance Re-engineering Policy’ by which policemen and women were moved to fit into the appropriate positions, on the merit of defensible criteria such as rank, qualification and competence. That was fair enough and the leadership of the Ghana Police Service was commended for the moral courage in taking the right steps, both big and small. The momentum was supposed to be maintained in the implementation of the policy in order to boost the morale of the men and women in the Ghana Police Service.

In the midst of all these initiatives, the nation was hit with the news of a recruitment scam in the service. Perhaps, it will be impulsive to suggest that the happenings in the Ghana Police Service are offshoots of the said scam, whereby certain undesirable characters had managed to enter the Service. It will not be surprising to learn that the suspects were among the batch connected with the botched recruitment exercise. The Ghana Police Service is the source for ascertaining the background of certain categories of workers. It is therefore very surprising that the very organization that is responsible for issuing ‘security clearance’ has shot itself in the foot, by not being all that diligent in its recruitment exercises, lately. Enlisting more hands should not give cause to water down the laid-down procedures and good practices in the selection process. Stiffer screening of new recruits should be one of the things that can be done to avoid enlisting people with dubious backgrounds. It takes time to handle such tasks but it is essential for future efficiency and integrity.

Again, in the spirit of ‘visibility’ and friendliness, all policemen and women are to wear name tags and numbers. The idea was a means of redeeming the image of the Service, especially to curb corruption. At the moment, it appears that it is an option to wear the tags. This is baffling because an order in a Security organization leaves no room for variance or doing as one pleases. The Police are supposed to be ‘friends’ and protectors of their fellow citizens and inhabitants of this nation. A friend is someone whom you can approach for help in times of difficulty. A friend is usually identified by the name or pet-name. A ‘friendly’ Police portrays a human face behind an official uniform and works openly. On the contrary, ‘nameless’ Police personnel are prone to bring dishonour to an organization whose motto is “Service with integrity”. A friendly Police will not take undue advantage of the weak and vulnerable and be trigger-happy. The public can co-operate better when they come upon delinquent Policemen and women.

The name or number can be quoted to support other concrete evidence by people complaining about, or witnessing cases of misconduct by the Police. The law-abiding Ghanaian should be prepared to assist the Ghana Police Service in fighting crime, corruption, and promoting law and order as well as delivering quality service in protecting lives and property. The Inspector-General of Police may be reminded, in humility, that small things cost very little, or even nothing, but enhance the beauty of the anticipated bigger achievements, in this case, of restoring the Ghana Police Service to its honourable pedestal. The bigger issues centre around stalled promotions, accommodation and others shall, hopefully, be tackled in a systematic manner, with the Strategic Directive Policy as a guide. The Ghana Police Service administration should stay focused to the vision and responsibilities entrusted to them.

BY ANTHONY KWEKU ANNAN, A SOCIAL COMMENTATOR.

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