The dismissal of two hundred and six police recruits from the various police training schools by the police administration has attracted varied reactions from the public. To some the decision is timely and sends a clear signal that the police under the current IGP are ready to purge the service of personnel whose actions can undermine the integrity of the service. Others have a different opinion. Ghanaians are not ruling out politics as if all the dismissed recruits belong to one political party. That notwithstanding, the decision must not be commended or condemned without analyzing the issues at stake critically at stake. More especially because the institution is responsible for the internal security of the state.
According to the Police Public Affairs Directorate, those dismissed managed to enter the training schools with dubious certificates. This is fraud and constitutes a criminal offence. Again, there are many questions to be answered by the Police Administration as to why thorough background checks were not conducted before the recruit reported for training. This is because in the recent past, due to lack of the recruits who went through the enlistment process had to wait for one year to allow those at the schools to pass out before a new batch reported for training. This long period could have been used to research into the backgrounds of the prospective applicants including check their criminal records.
It is unfortunate that some people with questionable characters have found their way into the Police Service. Their actions obviously tend to undermine the credibility of the institution. The service has come under serious public scrutiny and attacks in recent times over perception of corruption regarding recruitment and other commissions and omissions within that law enforcement institution. The allegations against COP Timbilla over corruption in connection with recruitment leading to his dismissal indicate that the Police Service has as image credibility challenge that they need to purge. The allegation that recruitments are characterized by bribery scandal and corruption make mockery of the recruitments as advertised in the media to offer prospective applicants the open, fair and transparent admission into the Police Service.
Another issue of critical concern is alleged political interference where enlistment into the Service is clearly by political consideration. This has led to what is commonly referred to as job for the boys in a country with mass youth unemployment. It is important for the Police Administration to look beyond the current recruits and critically research into personnel who are in charge of the recruitment process. There should be thorough introspection by the service, so that those whose actions are not giving a positive image to the institution can be dismissed.
In fact, the issue of unemployment should not give room for criminals and unqualified personnel to be recruited into the security services. The other security services should also conduct similar exercises to weed out of the nation’s security services people of questionable character as most of their modes of recruitment are also not immune to corrupt practices. The Acting IGP from all indications as an experienced police officer is not unaware of these acts. He needs the support of his other management staff to restore the once hard won and respectable image of the Police Service whose professional competence is acknowledged globally.
BY: THOMAS NSOWAH-ADJEI, A JOURNALIST.