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Opinions Fri, 25 Oct 2002

How Effective is the Personnel (HR) Department of the Police Service?

“Govt to recruit 2,000 more police”…Police Recruiting - How Effective is the Personnel (HR) Department of the Ghana Police Service?

In enhancing the police force in terms of quantity and quality, let us benchmark, using international standards, especially that with respect to the requirements needed to become officers. The screening and selection process for the Ghana Police must be upgraded. The quality and caliber of personnel joining the police force should be different from what we have seen in the past. What we see today in terms of the quality of the force is representative of a failed HR police recruiting system, which has not been able to adequately, identify, screen, and select a professional and noble force to execute the duties of the force.

Apart from rigorous physical and mental capacity needed, the educational level is important, especially in the PR campaign to enhance the image of the police. The service should be distinguished by noble young men and women who can discharge their duties without moral bias but based on the law and their role as enforcers of the law.

Our policemen and women of the past have been nothing short of embarrassment and this is due to the quality of personnel, which can always go back to the quality of the screening and selection process. It is our hope as Ghanaians that the police establishment can become a professional organization made up of enlightened men and women who wish to take on law enforcement as a career.

The Human Resources arm of the police department is critical at this juncture in terms of its contribution to national security and its relationship to investment and development, by way of selecting the appropriate personnel for the jobs of police officers. In addition to a more refined screening and selection process, the institution must think forward in terms of implementing professional courses to develop these men and women on an on-going basis. There must be constant reinforcement, sensitizing, and appraisal in terms of new laws and bi-laws to keep them updated on the events affecting the country. The police must be trained extensively to be able to discharge their duties in a manner that befits the country.

All in all, the responsibility of the government, in terms of creating the appropriate investment environment borders on its ability to create a secure environment in which to conduct business and this will very much include the police and the judicial system. To select individuals who are not competent mentally, physically and especially poorly educated would continue to undermine the integrity of the police especially in its dealing with the public.

Today we have evidence of the power of community policing, the success of police when they have a good working relationship with their communities. This is an approach, which Ghana seems to want to incorporate into its system. However, the drunks and low self-esteemed personnel of the past cannot sustain this effort to continue to develop community policing.

Let us first take a look at the HR department of the police force. What is the capacity and to what extent is the department’s mission in line with the broader mission of the Ghana Police Service and the government at large? It is only after a critical look at this department that we can understand some of our problems now, and how best to upgrade this important institution of civil society.

Columnist: Folson, Ako