General News Sat, 21 Apr 2001

IGP warns against warning shots

Mr Ernest Owusu-Poku, Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) on Friday warned the police against the firing of warning shots saying there is nothing like that in police regulations.

"I have not come across any regulation, which says the police can give warning shots. There is nothing in the police books to that effect. Whom are you warning and how does warning shots come in?" he asked.

The IGP was speaking at a durbar with officers and men of the Tema Regional Command of the Ghana Police Service on his first official duty outside Accra since he was appointed to head the police service three months ago.

If it becomes absolutely necessary to use fire arms, the police must fire at the legs of suspects to demobilise them to enable the police to get suspects alive and extract information from them rather than killing them.

Mr Owusu-Poku noted that in some cases a warning shot which is supposed to be fired into the air have ended up killing innocent people, all because the policemen have resorted to indiscriminate use of arms.

The addiction to guns is so serious that some policemen are not comfortable without an Ak 47 rifle even when they are called to attend to simple cases involving a quarrel between husband and wife, he said.


Mr Owusu-Poku also expressed concern about the gross abuse of power by policemen. He particularly made reference to the practice of arresting suspects with bench warrants late on Friday evenings to keep them in custody over weekends because they know the courts would not sit on Saturdays and Sundays.

He also cautioned the police against improper dressing saying some police personnel do not wear headgear and identification numbers while others are found wearing sandals with their uniform.

He also asked policewomen, who want to go shopping in the market to change into civilian clothes because "it is odd to find you hanging all sorts of bags around yourself while in police uniform".

During an open forum the policemen expressed concern about lack of promotion, refusal of the police command to allow them to pursue courses to enhance their career and refusal to pay medical bills of those who seek medical care at private clinics under emergency situations.

Chief Superintendent Agnes Sikanartey, Tema Regional Police Commander, briefed the IGP on the general security and crime situation in the region and stressed the need to increase the number of police personnel to cater for the population growth around Tema.

She said there was the need to open new police stations and provide more vehicles, which she said, is the most serious logistic problem adding that Tema has only three vehicles.

Source: GNA