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General News Tue, 3 Sep 2019

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Police need body-cameras, not bulletproof vests – Ablakwa tells government

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has made a strong case for the procurement of body-wearing cameras for personnel of the Ghana Police Service.

According to the legislator, the focus on acquiring bulletproof vests will not address the pertinent issue of criminal bandits getting away with heinous crimes committed. He stressed that there’s only so much shielding the vests will provide since they are not 100 percent secure.

Taking to his Facebook wall, Mr Ablakwa maintained that a critical look should be directed at investing in modern policing which involves the protection of the interests of both the Police Service and the civilian populace.

He argued that arming all sections of the Police will not make any headway since the weapons do not scare hardened criminals

“In my considered view, however, the debate so far which tends to focus on bulletproof vests or more appropriately bullet-resistant vests and arming police on traffic duties may be missing the real issues.

The matter in issue, in my candid view, is about addressing impunity on the part of criminal bandits who are becoming more notorious for their sheer bravado; and ensuring that they do not get away with such heinous crimes. It is also about modern policing that protects the interest of both the police service and the civilian populace…” a portion of his statement read.

The MP for Tongu further motioned that “Don't get me wrong, police bullet-resistant vests and more weapons for the police may be useful additions but vests do not guarantee 100% protection (it only provides limited immunity to the torso) neither will arming traffic police personnel necessarily scare hardened criminals.

I submit that the most critical intervention will be to provide body-worn cameras for all police personnel on duty. Many jurisdictions have moved in this direction and are amending legislation or passing fresh body-worn camera laws to leverage the full technological advantage bodycams provide.

Bodycams will deal with impunity significantly because, first of all, research shows that bodycams really do scare criminals, they also help with gathering valuable evidence for arrests and successful prosecutions.”

He admonished his colleagues in Parliament to “consider pushing for legislation that will not permit the deployment of police personnel without bodycams just as 34 states and the District of Columbia have decided in the United States of America.”

Read his full statement here:

The senseless and callous killings of police personnel who put themselves in harm's way to protect all of us must definitely be strongly and roundly condemned. We should immediately follow up with actions to befittingly compensate their families left behind and honour the memories of these fallen heroes.

In my considered view, however, the debate so far which tends to focus on bulletproof vests or more appropriately bullet-resistant vests and arming police on traffic duties may be missing the real issues.

The matter in issue, in my candid view, is about addressing impunity on the part of criminal bandits who are becoming more notorious for their sheer bravado; and ensuring that they do not get away with such heinous crimes. It is also about modern policing that protects the interest of both the police service and the civilian populace.

Don't get me wrong, police bullet-resistant vests and more weapons for the police may be useful additions but vests do not guarantee 100% protection (it only provides limited immunity to the torso) neither will arming traffic police personnel necessarily scare hardened criminals.

I submit that the most critical intervention will be to provide body-worn cameras for all police personnel on duty. Many jurisdictions have moved in this direction and are amending legislation or passing fresh body-worn camera laws to leverage the full technological advantage bodycams provide.

Bodycams will deal with impunity significantly because, first of all, research shows that bodycams really do scare criminals, they also help with gathering valuable evidence for arrests and successful prosecutions.

Additionally, bodycams help to build community trust; they assist in exposing police excesses and protecting victims; they promote transparent policing and deepen professionalism.

Then, surely in the unique case of Ghana - the age-old "small small collections" will finally be eliminated and its ghost exorcised for good. What a relief that will be.

Let's think about this and perhaps my colleague Members of Parliament should consider pushing for legislation that will not permit the deployment of police personnel without bodycams just as 34 states and the District of Columbia have decided in the United States of America.

We must not compromise on the right tools, right recruitment, right training, right strategy and the right policies.

May our fallen heroes and worthy martyrs rest in perfect peace.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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