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Opinions Wed, 30 Sep 2015

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Wandering Thoughts: How do I reach the Ghana Police?

Wednesday morning on my way to work, a tipper truck driver rammed the back of my sister’s car and broke the tail lights. We were of course angry but calm in handling the situation. The driver, who was coming from the main Legon road, in his attempt not to give a “trotro” driver space to join the main road from the overpass, ended up smashing our car and also denting the side of the car I was riding in.

The first line of action was to call the police. Although we were close to the Legon Police Station, we couldn’t leave the accident scene because the police would have to come to the scene to collect information on how the accident happened and mark the area.

I picked my phone to make the call. But not sure of what to do after the police short code 191 gave me a busy tone, I went on to search for a police contact number on google. The first link which popped up was the police website, www.police.gov.gh/contactus. I scrolled down but couldn’t find the number to the Legon Police Station. What was there was the Accra Region number.

I dialled the number nonetheless. I was running late for work and so was my sister. A female voice answered from the other end of the phone. I requested for the contact number to the Legon Police Station and she asked me to call back in five minutes. I was surprised since I expected her to have the number available in a jiffy after my asking.

I hung up and called back probably in less than five minutes. I introduced myself as the lady who called earlier for the contact number to the Legon Police Station. To my utter disappointment, the lady responded, “Legon Police Station…We don’t have the number here ooo.” To that I said thank you and hanged up.

I did another google search, this time narrowing my search to Legon Police Station. The results this time led me to www.ghana.gov.gh/emergency-numbers. I heaved a deep sigh of satisfaction. The website had a tall list of various emergency numbers to various state institutions, including NADMO, the Fire Service and Ambulance Service.

I scrolled down and found the number to the Legon Police Station. I dialled the number quickly and this time I was speechless at the response from the other end of the phone. It was another female voice and this time she told me “the number you have dialled cannot be reached.” I thought it was my network provider playing games with me and so I called the number again and I had the same response.

Even at the time of writing this piece I called the number again just to be sure it was probably my network provider. But no. I had the same response for the third time.

In the end, the driver of the tipper truck and my sister agreed to settle the matter without the police. We drove away from the accident scene and parked at the Okponglo bus stop to solve the issue.

The long and short of all this? Should this have been something more than a harmless accident, supposing a robbery attack, was this the kind of response I was going to get from the police in whom I have entrusted my security?

I don’t know about the effectiveness of the other service providers such as the Ghana Fire Service, the Ghana Ambulance Service, NADMO and so on. But I think it’s about time the Police Service became more vibrant, not in terms of their physical presence on our streets and communities, which I sometimes find intimidating, but in terms of reach.

The disservice I had this morning from the Accra Regional Police office was far from the best. Even if the lady didn’t have the number available, she could have gone ahead to ask what my problem was and if possible offer me an alternative. But no, she didn’t do that.

Now, I’m left to wonder if the Police Service even does regular checks on their land lines to ensure they are all active. Or has the mobile phone come to replace them?

Ghana Police, please come again.

Columnist: Jasmine Arku

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