There is very little regard for the police service in the traditional setting of Ghana, base on recent happenings in the country.
The public perception about the police is “unfriendly and corrupt “an image which has affected the public’s confidence in the work of the police service.
Less than half a decade ago, it was recognized in government circle that, internally, the police had strictly followed the laws and regulations governing appointments and promotions within the service.
A recent survey conducted by the University of Ghana in 2001, aptly captures the nature of these relations, while the public accepted the need for an efficient and friendly service and were in certain instance welcoming of the services provided by the police, there was an underlying sense of mistrust and discomfort.
There is no doubt that the police perform important, essential and key service to the state. They are supposed to be the protector and the law enforcer in our country.
The police service is also one of the most misunderstood and misperceived state organization in Ghana. Just this year, the country has witnessed a lot of confrontation between the police and the public.
A recent case of assault involving a police officer and some journalists from Ghanaian Times which happened at the Ghana publishing traffic light in Accra on Thursday March 4, has prompted the current action by the police service.
The Member Of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency, Kennedy Agyapong, says he does not trust the Ghana police service to uncover the mystery surrounding the murder of Ahmed Hussein -Sule, an investigator with the private investigative firm, Tiger Eye Pi.
In an interview with the BBC, The MP said, “I don’t trust the police, I have a lot of evidence, but I won’t share with anybody”.
It is the responsibility of the police service to protect lives and properties. The citizens must be educated and informed on the duties of the police, because so many people have no clue what the force represent because of ignorance.
Some police officers abuse their power instilling fear in the public leading to mistrust. Performing a duty as a police officer one need to be mindful of the human rights of the people he is serving. A police officer can legally use physical and even deadly force under circumstance in executing his or his duties but most be done with caution. Any action of the police officer can bring either commendation or condemnation. Ifprofessionalism is exhibited by the police, many of the public may applaud them but if it is the contrary then expert the public outcry. As a society we cannot do without the police because we will become prey to the criminals in the society.
A recent case of a two years old boy who met his untimely death at kasoa Chinese in the Ga south municipality of the Greater Accra region. The decomposing body was found in an area called tollbooth after he was allegedly kidnapped by some Nigerians. Father of the deceased, Mr Sam Abandon blamed the tollbooth police department for the death of his son . According to him, police officers on duty failed to give him audience when he reported his son was missing. Are the police officers actively on duty in protecting the society? The police administration in its quest should ensure peace in various communities in Ghana. The public need the police as much as the police need the public.Theymust be educated about their Rights and the best way to report officers who abuse the law. Public should avoid any confrontation with the police but rather lodge their complaints against those who mishandle them. People must desist from obstructing the police from performing their duties and stop provoking them. To have a crime free and peaceful society, there should be cooperation between the police and the public. There should be a cordial relationship between the police and the public, hence the introduction of community concept is a of getting the people closer to the public .It is time the Ghana police service re-brand itself to improve it’s image and restore more public confidence in it’s work.
Priscilla Nyarkoa Sasu