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The past week has exposed the fault lines in policing in the country: anomalies inherited by the current IGP from a long period of gradual decay occasioned by a multiple of factors; among them, political interference in recruitment.
Even before Ghanaians had finished digesting the dastardly episode at the Midland Savings And Loans Limited, a cop accidentally killed the driver of the bullion van he was escorting from Akosombo to Koforidua – both locations in the Eastern Region.
If there is one state institution which should not suffer a public confidence loss, it is the police system given the quantum of internal security load resting on their shoulders. Unfortunately, a fractured policing system which is gradually responding to treatment at the hands of the current IGP, continuous to make negative headlines from the acts of omission on the part of unprofessional cops in the ranks of this foremost internal security institution.
Until the multifaceted challenges besetting the institution are addressed and holistically, recurrences in different forms cannot be avoided.
In the past decade or so, persons have been recruited into the Police who do not meet the minimum standards for enlistment – the repercussions of which we are witnessing today.
Politicians have been excessively overbearing on the Police Administration to the extent that standards have had to be bent.
We have pointed it out before that considering the powers which a constable wields especially as they are in uniform, are enormous; an authority which empowers them to question anybody they suspect of breaching the law regardless of the status of such suspects.
A cop must be able to take a swift decision when he suspects that a crime is being committed – an action which if not taken can lead to very serious consequences including, even fatalities. The ideal cop should, therefore, be an intelligent person and, of course, educated with a high sense of morality.
We have as a result of the aforementioned factors been saddled with cops who would even beg motorists for a pittance thereby losing public respect.
Some cops do not even look smart in the uniform – a far cry from the standards they were taught at the training schools they passed out from.
Why would a cop descend upon a poor woman the way that cop did even when armed with a weapon which could easily discharge a round accidentally when not on safe? If he had been intelligent, he would have avoided that enacting, that reprehensible spectacle, since he could be videoed. Of course, this is not an intelligent cop who could have been enlisted through the intervention of a politician whose party was in power.
Information available to this paper suggests that there was an instance when the quality of some cops came on the spotlight. The Police Administration could not do anything to reverse the situation because of the interest of persons in the corridors of power.
Today, the fallouts of this is what has translated into a cop dealing blows to a nursing mother; a brutish treatment which cannot be defended under any circumstance and a cop forgetting the basic drills to follow after shooting.
A good cop or soldier should know that the critical segments of every weapon are the trigger and the safety catch. After firing the warning shots to clear the rowdy crowd, the cop should have ensured that the firearm was on ‘safe’ before boarding the bullion van. He failed this basic weapon handling requirement and this has cost the life of the driver.
The need for a general overhaul of policing cannot be marginalized.
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