Police PRO justifies abandoning of post
The Director of Police Public Affairs, Sup. Cephas Arthur says the service had no choice but to withdraw its personnel from Donkorkrom after rioters attacked them and destroyed the police post there.
According to him, the Inspector General of Police is on his way to the town to assess the situation for himself.
In a response to a question about why the police withdrew their services when they are supposed to provide protection for residents, Sup. Arthur said if the life of the officer is in danger then there will be no point staying in the town.
“A dead man doesn’t provide protection so for the moment it is just appropriate that we withdraw, re-strategize and see whether the conditions will permit a return to work,” he told host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Kojo Yankson.
The Inspector General of police has announced a withdrawal of personnel from Donkorkrom in the Eastern Region following a riot last week.
The residents called for the removal of police personnel from the town after reports of their involvement in the robbery of a GCB bullion van.
Although the IGP has been criticized for considering a withdrawal of his personnel, with some calling it unlawful, Sup. Arthur said there is nothing wrong with the decision.
Related: 5 in critical condition, 16 injured in Donkorkrom police shootout
“If members of a community are aggrieved by any situation and they decide to take the law into their own hands and attack the local police, vandalise their local police station and logistics such that there is no office accommodation to operate from, then the police cannot work.
“They attacked the police barracks and burnt down about 4 rooms and looted property such that the police don’t have any place to lay their heads, then you don’t expect that these officers will be comfortable enough to discharge their mandate,” he continued.
Sup. Arthur said the police do not feel safe in the community because they were personally targeted by the residents.
He said if the offices of the police and even their accommodation have been vandalized by the very people they are supposed to protect, “how do you expect them to work.”
He added that until the police post and accommodation are put in order, the police will stay away.
Related: Police launches investigation into bank bullion van attack
Sup. Arthur regrets that the innocent citizens will have to pay for the crimes of the unlawful minority but insists “that is why we have to be each other’s keeper.
“When someone is doing something wrong, you volunteer information to the police, you say something to stop the person from doing that,” he added.
He, however said some plain-clothed policemen are still in the town and will do their best to ensure the place is safe.
The Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Dr Kwesi Aning said the police cannot withdraw their services from the town.
Although he acknowledges that they were attacked by residents, and their work has been made difficult, withdrawing their services will send a wrong signal to other criminals.
“The initial response that has been given that 'we are withdrawing our services because we don’t have a place to sleep' sends a terribly wrong signal of the failure of our emergency response mechanism , the failure of our early warning signs and thirdly that you can exchange fire with the Ghana police service and they will pull out.
“That signal must not go out because the long term unintended impact is very negative not only for the service but for the country as a whole,” he stressed.
Dr Aning said creating the impression that ordinary civilians can attack the police service and they can retreat and have their properties burnt down, sends a very dangerous signal.
“Particularly because we live in a dangerous an unstable sub-region, we cannot and we must not have a situation where a signal is sent that anyone at all can exchange fire with representatives of the Ghana police service.”
He called on the police to immediately arrest the culprits to serve as a deterrent to others.