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The Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery has defended government’s directive for officers of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) to be given arms and bulletproofs, saying the move is in the interest of the nation.
According to him, the decision is to ensure that all police officers, including the MTTDs, effectively exercise their right to self-defence, and assist in fighting violent crime on the streets.
There have been debates in the public domain on the directive with many arguing that arming the MTTD officers and protecting them with bullet proof vests and helmets is a threat to society.
But the Interior Minister believes otherwise, arguing that if people who are not trained can buy arms to protect themselves and is not a threat to peace, “how can arming trained competent and professional officers of the Ghana Police Service be a threat to society?”
“For those who have issues with us arming the MTTD should be reminded that they are all police officers trained on how to handle arms and have only been assigned to take care of traffic,” Mr Dery said.
He was addressing some police officers in the Ashanti Region as part of his two-day working visit to interact with security personnel under his Ministry.
The gruesome murder of Sgt. Michael Gyamasi and L/Cpl. Awal Mohammed at Budumburam, near Kasoa, in broad daylight, triggered the government’s decision to arm all police officers on the streets after approving compensation packages for the dependents of the slain officers.
Mr Dery indicated that the MTTD officers will not only be armed but again wear body cameras to ensure that “everything is put under control as they work on the roads and when there is an effort to fight violent crime such as armed robbery, the robbers are pursued along the roads.”
According to him, without that protection and capacity to deal with emergent situations, the MTTD officers will only stand helpless, and by their uniforms, become easy targets to be killed by violent criminals. “We can’t allow that to continue.”
The Interior Minister said President Akufo-Addo had confidence in the Ghana Police Service and the professionalism of officers, pointing out that the government is again adding additional sources of information about officers’ operations by providing them with cameras on their jackets.
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