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Regional News Thu, 25 Sep 2008

Let's be careful about organising functions under party colours- Police

Sunyani (B/A) Sept. 25, GNA - The Brong-Ahafo Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Seth Charles Oteng, on Thursday expressed concern about the organisation of social functions under politically coloured atmosphere.

He has therefore urged all municipal and districts police commanders within the region not to wait to be informed or invited before assigning some police officers to such gatherings to guarantee the peace and stability at the grounds of such events. He said if pressure on this year's election could not be minimizing at this period, it would be very difficult to control the situation during the election day.

The Regional Police Commander was addressing municipal and districts police commanders in Brong-Ahafo, at a meeting held in Sunyani, aimed at highlighting the causes of violence at campaign grounds, and to adopt measures to check the situation through the formation of elections security taskforce, at the local level to ensure peace before, during and after the December polls. ACP Oteng called on the districts police commanders to report to the regional head quarters any violations of law or cases beyond their control for support and further actions to be taken. He therefore urged the police team to be abreast with the constitutional laws governing the country's election, to enable them to educate and brief police officers under their control, before they are deployed for official assignments to prevent incidents that might be caused by the police themselves. He said out of ignorance, supporters of the political parties see themselves as enemies, saying, it was the responsibility of the police force to educate them on such issues. He revealed that party supporters listen to their executives more than the police and hence advised commanders to work with the party's executives in solving political cases at their areas. ACP Oteng emphasized that on the elections day, district commanders should deploy only competent and experienced police personnel's to the polling stations and the officers should wear protective uniforms for their safety.

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He asked them to have a critical watch on the electoral officers and the polling agents at the polling stations to avoid any act that could mar peace at the station. The Regional Police Commander gave an assurance to provide the needed security to such personalities till the end of the exercise. He warned that "under no circumstances should a police officer leave his duty post at a polling station to attend to another business, not even should a policeman live his post to arrest somebody, even if the situation was out hand, but rather should call for help either from the patrol team".

"The absence of an officer at a polling station can also result in another incident, hence the need to remain there till the end of the exercise," Mr Oteng added. He appealed to the police service to remain neutral and fair to all political parties and warned them not to allow any public official to be part of the patrol team nor sit in the same vehicle with the police at the elections day, though the Regional Coordinating Council and the district assemblies are to provide the vehicles for patrols at that particular day.

Meanwhile some districts have not been able to form the taskforce and attributed the problem to the lack of interest shown by some District Chief Executives in support of the formation of the force. He expressed regret that some districts that have the taskforce also lacked the required institutions that were supposed to be part of the committee, which is made up of the Police service, Prisons service, Military service, and the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), since some of these agencies are not available in some districts.

Source: GNA
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