The Upper West Regional Security Council (REGSEC), has organised a sensitisation programme for Neighbourhood Watchdog Committees (NWC) on security matters aimed at beefing up national security efforts to protect lives and property.
Two Committees in Bulenga and Loggu communities in Wa East District has received a briefing from the REGSEC comprising the police and other security agencies to help provide adequate security protection to residents and reduce the high rate of crime.
The Regional Minister, Alhaji Suleimana Alhassan who is also the Chairman of Upper West REGSEC led the team that included Coordinating Director, the Deputy Regional Police Commander, the Regional Police Crime Officer and other security personnel.
The team focused on the role and benefit of voluntary groups and community members to complement efforts of security officials in the fight against social vices including armed robbery in local communities.
Regional Minister Alhaji Suleimana Alhassan stated that recent armed robbery attacks and complex theft cases recorded in various communities required the urgent need to re-visit the concept of neighbourhood watchdog committees to help contain the situation.
He noted that the services of the committees when appropriately coordinated with the actions of the Police would serve as the surest way of making communities safe and peaceful.
The communities were also encouraged to back efforts by the committees to provide sufficient security protection in the interest of residents.
“Let us give the committees the peace of mind and the free will and freedom to operate,” he said: “Let us not be obstacles in their way in terms of the performance of their duty”.
He also urged the committee members to work as a team with the common goal of preventing crime for people to transact their lawful business in a serene environment.
The Upper West Regional Police Crime Officer, Superintendent Alhaji Fuseini Musa Awenaba, said the partnership between traditional rulers, community watchdog committees and community members, would ensure effectively and intelligence gathering for efficient crime combating.
He noted that crime prevention was not the sole responsibility of any one person or group but the entire society, saying: “the selected people are not above the laws of Ghana and therefore must not put the laws into their own hands.”
He said the 12-member committee was vetted and cleared in Accra and therefore had no criminal records. However, he cautioned them never to attempt in any way to try resolving land disputes or chieftaincy disagreements because those were not part of their mandate.
Mr Moses Jotie, the Chief Executive Officer of the Wa East District Assembly expressed worry that the district inability to fight crime and ensure maximum security surveillance, was because of the poor road network and the diffused nature of the District.
“The major challenge we face is the poor road network and the disperse nature of the district which makes it difficult and costly for the police command to carry out regular and effective patrols in parts of the district,” he said.
Mr Jotie commended the Regional Minister and the REGSEC for their intervention to help curb crime in the district and called on all to support the Neighbourhood Watch Committee in diverse ways.