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Regional News Mon, 8 Apr 2019

Akuse district Police headquarters in distress

A tour of the Akuse district police headquarters has unearthed that one of the oldest district police commands in the Eastern Region, the Akuse District Police Headquarters is in a sorry state as a result of lack office space and other amenities that are needed for personnel to function fully.

The Command is bedevilled with a diversity of disturbing challenges including the shortage of vehicles, reducing their ability to combat and probe crime effectively.

The police station just opposite the popular Akuse Prisons lack amenities like police vehicles, urinal and toilet facilities, as well as befitting office space for the personnel and the Commander of the station.

When this reporter visited the area last week; it came to the fore that the Command has over the years been operating in accommodation facilities (barracks) converted into offices for the district police headquarters and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit, DOVVSU offices.

After a thorough inspection of the deplorable conditions at the station, this reporter contacted Superintendent Winfred Nyarko, Commander of the Akuse District Police who in turn appealed to stakeholders, well-meaning organizations and individuals including authorities of the Police administration to commit resources to address the difficulties confronting the district police headquarters.

With as many as four police stations under its Command including Nuaso, Kpong, Akuse, all in the Eastern region and Asutuare in the Greater Accra Region, the Akuse Police Command operates with only one patrol vehicle which in many ways inhibits their operations, including the late response and arrival of policemen to distress calls.

The district commander said his outfit would need more vehicles as the single vehicle currently there was reserved for patrol duties.

“With four Police stations under the Command, it is imperative that we have more vehicles to effectively combat incidents of crime and rampant road accidents,” said Superitendent Nyarko, confident that the Inspector General of Police would continue to resource the Police institution with more resources.

This shortage does not only reduce visible policing efforts aimed at limiting the opportunity to combat crime through police patrols, but it also undermines the response capacity of police and weakens investigative and detective work.

According to Police Chief, Superintendent Nyarko, the only police vehicle available to the district runs on a non-stop basis, and this does place a burden on its mechanical life.

The Ghana Police is currently experiencing a challenge relating to serviceable vehicles available to them which stakeholders insist must receive the necessary attention.

Government has consistently assured the service that it is committed to ensure that their police stations are resourced in the best possible way to ensure good service delivery to their communities.

As observed, the Akuse Police Station also has no cells for female suspects and juveniles who come into conflict with the law.

With only a male cell at the facility, taking custody of female and juvenile suspects is a recurrent headache for officers at the Akuse police station. The situation, Superintendent Nyarko explained compels the station to transfer female and juvenile suspects to the Asutuare Police station where such facilities are available, to be kept in custody.

This anomaly, according to him, is disturbing and unacceptable.

He is thus embarking on a personal initiative aimed at soliciting support to construct child-friendly and female cells, to ensure that the rights of children and women in violation of the laws are protected.

The Akuse District Police Commander posted to the district in 2018 is being hailed for taking initiatives to refurbish the shabby District Police Station and barracks and furnishing offices with the support of Corporate Organizations and Individuals.

Another worrying trend observed was that personnel and members of the general public who visited the police station for one reason or the other, in the absence of washrooms, have to resort to the use of the open space as a place of convenience.

To address the problem, Superintendent Nyarko is currently funding the construction of a 6-unit washroom for visitors to the Akuse Police Station. The facility when completed will serve civilian guests to the police station.

The Odumase Police Command also in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal has in recent times received assistance including a set of office equipment donated by the Municipal Chief Executive for Lower Manya Krobo, Hon. Simon Kwaku Tetteh, the donation of a Mahindra 4X4 Pick-up by former Minister Of Energy, Mr. Boakye Agyarko and the commissioning of a new police post by the MCE, all geared towards enhancing the efforts of the Police Command in its fight against crime in the municipal.

The donation of the equipment forms part of the efforts of the Assembly Chief who doubles as the Head of the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) to offer continuous support to the Command.

The lack of adequate office space within the police station has forced the station to convert parts of the barracks for the use of office accommodation, a situation Supt Nyarko describes as unfortunate.

Asked if he believes the jurisdiction needs more police stations as well as personnel to ensure maximum security in the district, Superintendent Nyarko who decried the low number of personnel was however optimistic that the IGP would invigorate the Command with more personnel.

“The IGP regularly provides personnel but we would be grateful to have some reinforcement with more personnel for better crime combat,” said the affable Commander, noting that they are a number of key State installations in the jurisdiction to protect. “There is the Volta River Authority, Ghana Water Company Limited and other key government projects like factories to protect and a boost in personnel would help in discharging this responsibility.”

Apparently however, an increase in the number of officers would improve patrol duties, visibility duties, snap check duties as well as investigations.

Supt. Winfred Nyarko believes that some abandoned and dilapidated structures at the station can be converted into useful offices. The structures previously used as facilities for various duties at the time of the visit were pale shadows of their former self, now dilapidated, obsolete, abandoned and idle. But this the Police Chief believes could once again be put to good use if stakeholders committed to their resuscitation.

He posits that renovation of the old structures could house offices within the District Police Headquarters and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the police service which serves both Akuse and the Odumase Police Commands.

He expressed the hope that the police administration, which was aware of the situation, would soon resource the station.

He acknowledged the enormity of the problem and appealed to various stakeholders including the general public for assistance.

Source: Michael Oberteye