Ghana Police Service: Number one in the world

Ghana Police   File Photo

Sat, 7 Jul 2018 Source: King David Dzirasah

Ghana Police Service: Number one in the world.

Year after year public surveys carried out indicate the perception of Ghanaians relative to the performance of Ghana Police service. Majority of Ghanaians see Ghana Police Service as the most corrupt and inept institution in Ghana. This perception has been reinforced by the actions and inactions of the Ghana Police Service. However, reforming Ghana police service is not in the realm of impossibility. What we need is a radical institutional reform and paradigm shift from the narrative. The following are necessary and very crucial steps that must be taking to make GPS the number in the world. These steps are foolproof meaning that implementing them will surely lead to positive change.

The first step in reforming the GPS is depoliticizing its leadership. This defect is attributable to how the constitution has structure the appointment of the IGP and the constitution of the Police Council. The IGP is appointed by the President of Ghana.

The constitution must be amended to change this arrangement. The position of IGP must be one that is either elective in nature or must be meritorious in nature (based on ranking and number of years in service). Also the police council in which the vice president serves as the chairman needs serious reform. The council is politicized based on the fact that majority of its members are appointed by the president.

The council going forward should be constituted by only the regional commanders, IGP, heads of various departments at GPS and a sole representative of the president. Either the veep or the minister responsible for security and internal affairs being the sole rep of the president. The IGP and rep of the president serving as CO-chairs of the council. This would mitigate the influence politicians have on the GPS. The service is a professional body and must be kept as such.

The second step in reforming GPS must be focused on how to hold police service accountable relative to the conduct of the police personnel. Police personnel are human beings and a bound to make mistakes and commit crimes.

It is no secret that some recalcitrant personnel in GPS engage in taking bribes, abusing the right of citizens etc. Internal structures such as the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards (PIPS) have been put in place to investigate police personnel and take disciplinary actions against them if found guilty. This arrangement is highly flawed.

Most at times PIPS either fail to ensure completion of investigations thereby killing the process or they fail to make sure that victims are given true justice. An example is the recent case of brutality against joynews journalist Latiff. This particular case is being delayed in order to discontinue the process.

This is purely due to issues of conflict of interest. What we must do is to set-up independent body with it branches at district, divisional, regional and national police stations. This body will be made up of Ghanaians who will be picked by the public service commission on volunteering bases.

They will serve for a stipulated period of time and be replaced by next budge of appointees at the end of their tenure. Complaint desk must be established to receive public complaints on the bases of anonymity. Members of this body should be provided with necessary logistics and knowledge relative to their work.

The third step that needs to be taken to reform the GPS is the adoption and use of Body Cameras in law enforcement. This step has been acknowledged by govt. On 6th December 2017, the dep. Minister of Communication George Andah said that the GPS will be equipped with body cameras to help fight corruption in the service. Use of Body cameras by law enforcement has been fully adopted in the US at both state and federal level. Studies have showed increase in both officer and citizen accountability due to its use. Most developed countries have adopted use body cameras as part of law enforcement. Ghana must adopt this reform.

The fourth step in reforming GPS must focus on decentralizing the service. The tradition of IGP and regional commanders transferring their subordinate must be scrapped. This tradition gives too much power to officials at the top of the police hierarchy. Transfer was designed to help curb corruption and promote efficiency in the service. However, with the reforms coming into place this makes the tradition obsolete. Also regional and district commanders should either be elected by the indigenes of the regions or districts or they should reach those positions based on their ranking in the service.

The last reform process is what I term miscellaneous step. Salaries of the personnel should be relooked at to correspond with level of productivity. Necessary logistics and infrastructures must be provided to the personnel. A well-resourced service will perform to its best ability. Internationally standardized processes must be adopted in training and recruiting personnel into the service. That means that minimum educational levels should be set, minimum IQ levels and cognitive status should be considered, protocol list should be abolished.

Columnist: King David Dzirasah