Police Service Election Security Manual
As part of its preparations towards the 2016 general election, the Police Administration has launched a number of educational, training and other manuals for security agencies and the public. The manuals which form part of efforts to ensure peace before, during and after the election are timely and also demonstrate the readiness of the police and sister security agencies to collaborate with the Electoral Commission to deliver not only a peaceful but also credible election. These materials are to alert, inform, educate and give direction to the security agencies and the voting public on the acceptable and unacceptable practices connected to the December 7 general election. The materials adopted from the legal framework governing elections in Ghana are tailored towards catering for the operational needs of the rank and file of the Security Service. Additionally, information has been provided as a checklist for the general public particularly voters in order to ensure a violence free poll. The election security materials include; incidents and public order Management manual which contains important information on how to handle public order incidents.
It is refreshing to note that the compilation of this manual is the first serious attempt by the Ghana Police service to harmonize public order activities into a document that can truly be owned by the users or beneficiaries. The Election Booklet also contains very useful information for all Commanders in relation to the upcoming election. They are supposed to be used as reference documents for sensitizing personnel. One other important material is the Aide Memoire which is the summarized version of the Election Booklet to be distributed to all officers performing polling station duties. In order to appeal directly to the voting public, posters have also been produced. These posters which are a novelty are to appeal to the hearts and minds of the electorate to work towards ensuring peaceful elections.
Additionally, flyers have been included and are being issued out and used in sensitizing the public as to how they should conduct themselves to avoid breaching the Electoral laws of Ghana. The Police have also come out with a map of Ghana which clearly identifies the 94 potential hotspot constituencies in the country. It is important to acknowledge the collaborative effort of UK AID and the Department for International Development (DFID) for the production of these materials. With all these efforts, it is the belief of the management of the Ghana Police Service that Ghanaians especially candidates and their supporters will see the need to play by the rules of the game in order for election managers to work in an atmosphere devoid of intimidation and threat. Let us believe in state institutions as they have been tried and tested since the commencement of the 4th Republican Constitution and the holding of democratic elections since 1992 after a long period of military dictatorship. The Ghana Police Service continues to up its game after every election and has over the years won the admiration of Ghanaians and the International Community.
Continuous leveling of accusations against the police as unprofessional in spite of its track record in election security will erode public confidence in the institution and therefore undermine the security of the State. The police have demonstrated in the past their capability and commitment through the conduct of its personnel when it comes to election security. It is the hope of the Service that with public support and trust, this election will also pass as a very peaceful and credible one, not withstanding some reservations being expressed by some players in the election. This country has no other Police Institution than the Ghana Police Service, that is why it is important that we collectively assist the institution to deliver on its mandate. Let us work together for election 2016 to be successful.
BY DSP FREEMAN TETTEY, POLICE PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT, GHANA POLICE SERVICE.