Recruitment into the Ghanaian security agencies: Are the procedures in tune with modern trends?

2021 Immigration Recruitment A group of people gathered to be recruited into the security service

Mon, 8 Nov 2021 Source: Prince Adjei

The security agencies in Ghana command some level of respect and decorum due to the standards of performance wherever their personnel may find themselves around the globe.

In other jurisdictions where any of the Ghanaian security services have been deployed to undertake operations and other peacekeeping activities, they are rated very high in the discharge of their operations. This may partly boil down to the rigorous professional training and skills imbibed into their men and women who avail themselves to serve.

However, the mode of application, advertisement, and the selection procedures that characterise the entire recruitment exercises in Ghana has raised eyebrows among cross-sections of the Ghanaian populace.

We do not want to assume security competence to question how or direct how prospective applicants should be recruited into these services. But what is needed to be done is to bring transparency and improvement with respect to modern technology trends in the recruitment processes.

For instance, there is a common height criterion which is known to everyone that, short persons below a certain threshold parameter are not allowed into the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Service and sometimes the Ghana Immigration Service unless they are acceptably tall. This requirement has been there for decades. But how does it situate within the context of artificial intelligence and technology? Assuming an applicant falls below the height requirement but possesses IT knowledge and modern skills that makes him indispensable to be utilised by any of these agencies to fight crime or to ensure defence, will he be rejected for not meeting height requirement when such a person may not even be used to step onto the field to physically operate? It is high time we we reflected upon these as a country.

When it comes to public announcements of the recruitments, the information on some occasions seems not to have been adequately made known to the public. In some particular years, newspaper advertisements were not made to the public on notice about recruitment into some of the services yet, vacancies were filled. If it happens that way, it makes the exercise not transparent and that in itself is ironic and creates ill feelings towards the institutions.

Before one applies to get recruited, one needs to purchase an application form uploaded onto a scratch card at a cost ranging from Ghs100 to Ghs150 depending on which security institution to apply to. Every year, a security agency can record not less than 20,000 applicants but at the end of the day, fewer numbers less than 15% are absorbed into the agencies.

This raises the question of whether or not there is the need to charge prospective recruits at a point of application to get employment. So if one is not fortunate to get qualified and picked, the money he/she pays goes away. The agencies have argued about the relevance of selling application forms as they say it helps them to raise money to augment the administrative processes of the recruitment exercises. Which of the two scenarios makes good sense can be determined by all of us as citizens.

The security agencies have had their standards over many years. For example, applicants with artificial body modifications like tattooing, double or multiple ears piercing by the ladies especially, and certain body conformations do not qualify to enter into the military and other security institutions. The security agencies are noted to be disciplined, regimented organisations and that certain behaviour and attitude we believe cannot be allowed to mingle with as they have the potential to undermine the reputation of such agencies.

It is for this reason that we advise prospective applicants and recruits, to be cautious about the implications of how they tinker with their body parts.

Another dimension of the recruitment that poses danger is whether or not applicants seeking to enter do so with a genuine patriotic passion to serve and defend their country or are frustrated by unemployment and that they do so with job-seeking as their sole motive. If the latter is true, it implies that the nationalistic attitude to serve is not there. Some may just be struggling to get recruited so they can face the economic challenges in which they find themselves. This could be a recipe for chaos and corruption if the minds of prospective security personnel are geared towards monetary packages.

Moreover, some of the recruitment exercises witnessed over the years have been chaotic and looks uncoordinated among the prospective recruits especially the days set aside for physical selection of the applicants.

In some cases, there is pandemonium at various selection centres as these men and women struggle for space like bees in a hive.

In as much as we understand that the drills applicants go through are meant to prepare them psychologically for the job, we believe that, the lack of adequate space to accommodate the large number of persons who turn out for the exercises need to be addressed. If it is about resources they need to acquire befitting training centres that are stress-free and reflect modern training aspirations, the senior officers of the agencies need to discuss it with state authorities.

This will help to turn out highly motivated security personnel who will be better prepared with the right frame of mind to serve the country in good faith.

Columnist: Prince Adjei