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The heat in the 'feathered cap' of senior police officers

Gh Police Police The author highlights some challenges senior police officers face in line of their duties

Wed, 9 Jan 2019 Source: Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III

The life of senior police officer is not rosy as we the junior officers may think.

You will never know until you are told or see it for yourself if you should have the opportunity to work closely with some of them. They are equally faced with myriads of challenges in the police service.

Sometimes we the junior ranks see senior officers and think that all is well with them in the police service. We gladly conclude that they are the ones enjoying all the "fat meats" in the police without giving us even the"bones" to exercise our jaws but that is not the case at all.

There is a popular Akan adage that all eyes are on the one who wears the feathered cap. You know why? The feathered cap is easily identified or seen from wherever a person may stand among the crowd. Sometimes people wish they are the ones wearing the feathered cap but in reality, only the one wearing the feathered cap knows the heat and difficulties he is putting up with.

Not all is well for our senior officers.

They have their own stories to tell. If you hear what some senior officers have gone through in the police service or still going through, you will weep. You will sympathise with them.

Unfortunately, they do not say their stories that much because they do not know who trust among the junior officers. If you prove yourself to be trustworthy and a matured person as a junior officer, your senior officers will confide in you and tell you many things they are going through. Your jaw will drop if you should hear some of their experiences.

They will tell you many things from their personal matters to family and the kind of difficulties they are going through in the police. The caution here is, you should keep it secret and give your officer that supports he or she needs in times of crisis. Some of them are so lonely because they have been deserted by friends and college mates due to the crisis they are going through and most of them are also struggling with failing healths.

They may appear neatly dressed but there is a lot going on under their sleeves. They have untold stories of pains and agonies as far as policing is concerned.

There is a serious misconception among the junior ranks that life is rossy for senior officers and I think it is time to clear those misconceptions and come to terms that we are all in the burning furnace together.

Senior officers must learn to provide supports for junior ranks who are going through some stress or difficulties in the police service and so junior ranks must also prove themselves to be trustworthy and matured enough to provide supports to their senior officers who are equally going through some difficulties in the police service. That is how life should be in the police service.

It is time for the transformation agenda to holistically address the culture of tyranny, suppression and oppression of police officers and lay down contingent mechanisms for police officers being oppressed and suppressed to address their grievances. The transformation agenda must seek to bridge the "valley" between senior officers and junior officers so that they can all provide comforting human supports to one another in times of difficulties.

The transformation agenda must seek to reconcile all aggrieved officers, both senior and junior ranks in order to gain their commitments, sacrifices and dedications to duty. There are many police officers both senior and junior ranks who laid down their lives for police service in one way or the other and they should be dully recognised as such. They sacrificed everything for the police service only to be treated with disrespect and contempt.

If you work closely with senior officers particularly those at lower command levels -ASPs and DSPs, that is when you will realise and understand the pains they go through. They sometimes weep due to insults and mistreatments from their superiors. These senior officers sometimes do the things they do to junior officers because of constant pressure mounted on them but not out of their own volitions.

Those who suffer the most are the District or unit commanders and crime officers. There is always this popular perception that they are enriching themselves in the name of police service and have thus become objects of constant transfers. Some of them can go on transfers about 5 or 10 times in year because there is somebody at the top who does not like them. Their names are on every transfer list released and the longest time they stay at a station is six months.

They are easily branded with political colours and victimised whenever there is change of political tables. We have seen several politically motivated transfers bulldozing senior officers as high as COPs with some of them being relegated from strategic position to the background. They have been completely silenced in the police service due to political tags.

When the die is cast and the political tables turn, even IGPs and COPs struggle to find their feet in the police service. Senior officers are equally mistreated, disrespected, abused emotionally and psychologically. They go through a lot of emotional strains and stress but the fact is, they do not say it.

Some of them have beared the brunts of injustices and unfair treatments in the police. I know a senior officer who has been doing service enquiry for the past four years. Anytime they finish with the service enquiry and the results go up there, somebody up there will order retrial.

My only problem with some of them is, after bearing all the unfair and unjust treatments in the police service and they get to the very top, they perpetuate the same evil done to them to others.

They enjoy to do the same things that were done to them and they never liked it to others. They in turn do it to others because they feel that the tradition of tyrannical, oppressive and suppressive conducts towards subordinate officers must continue.

For a transformed police service, we must resist the culture of tyranny, suppression and oppression in the police service irrespective of rank.

Columnist: Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III