The Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Afia Tenge has clarified that the laws regarding the arrest of people without face masks in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic are not clear enough to be strictly enforced.In an interview with GhanaWeb on June 24, 2020, Afia Tenge mentioned that there were so many questions regarding enforcement of the law, such as the space law-breakers will be put after their arrest.
“We are seeing some mass disobedience from people and as I indicated, I have been trying to find out our operational parameters because there were a number of some grey areas in the law regarding the enforcement. It is one thing coming up with a law, it is another thing enforcing it. We need clear guidelines on it, on how we are going to go about it. Even when we arrest them, where do we put them? Not knowing whether the person is a carrier or not?” she queried.
She, however, maintained that people who do not wear face masks could still be arrested as ordered by the president, but it will be on the discretion of the police personnel.
“The law has been passed so everybody can be arrested … but as it stands now, if I see you in a public place and the police officer sees that you are not in nose masks, the police officer can arrest you. At first, there were no laws, but now we have the Executive Instrument 164 criminalizing not wearing of face masks, but most of it will be dependent on the discretion of the police officer,” she stated.
Afia Tenge further cautioned the public to adhere to the president’s directives to largely save their lives and the lives of others from the pandemic.
“It is behavioural, so if people are not adhering to the wearing, it has become more of a humanitarian operation and we expect people to comply so that they do not infect others or they also do not contract it,” she concluded.