Regional News Sat, 13 Jan 2007

Regional Police Committee inaugurated in Sunyani

Sunyani(B/A), Jan. 13, GNA - A 25-member Brong Ahafo Regional Police Committee to advise the Police Council on matters relating to the administration of the Service in the region was inaugurated in Sunyani on Saturday.

The Chairman of the Committee is Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Regional Minister while the other members include a lawyer, two senior Police Officers, a representative of the Inspector General of Police and representatives from the regional house of chiefs, Attorney-General's Department and the 19 districts.

Justice Sam Baddoo, Chairman of the Police Council, inaugurating the Committee appealed to the members to look for innovative ways in addressing the problems of the Service in the region. He said the government was aware of the problems confronting the Service including poor conditions of service, lack of adequate accommodation and transportation.

Justice Baddoo stressed the government's determination to provide infrastructure such as a new Police Hospital at Tamale and renovating cells across the country.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah said he was happy that the inauguration of the Committee had come at a time the Service was embarking on programmes to improve its corporate image and public relations.

He said the measures would not succeed 93without corresponding efforts by the Police personnel to eschew negative practices that tended to bring the image of the Service into disrepute and expose it to public ridicule.

"Such changes are required not only at the lower ranks but the entire hierarchy of command in the Police bureaucracy", the Regional Minister said.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah noted that issues like indiscriminate use of fire arms, unlawful arrests and detention, abuse of human rights and interference in chieftaincy and land disputes would have to be addressed to win the confidence and support of the public.

Other issues are delays in the investigation of cases and the perceived use of motor checks on roads 'as money-making ventures rather than road safety" and promotion.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah appealed to the public to use laid down procedures for redress instead of taking the law into their own hands. Mr. Ken Dapaah, Minister of Interior, appealed to the Committee and the Regional Police Command to devise strategies to tackle "resource=96related" problems of the Service.

He stressed the importance of the Police in the promotion of peace and stability and socio-economic development and urged district assemblies and the committee to support the Service, particularly, with accommodation and transportation.

Mr. Dapaah called on the committee members to regularly visit Police Stations and expressed concern about the poor state of cells and called for the redesigning of the Police Charge Offices and the establishment of complaint centres to make the Service public friendly. "The Police Council is aware of the financial implications of the redevelopment policy", the Minister said and assured the Committee of the readiness of the private sector to support its programmes when approached with the right proposals.

Mrs. Elizabeth Mills Robertson, Deputy Inspector General of Police, on behalf Mr. Patrick Acheampong, Inspector General of Police, urged the Committee to look into the causes of public order discrepancies and to make their findings and recommendations available to the regional security apparatus.

Source: GNA