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 that is expected to advise the Police Council on matters relating to the administration of the Service in the region inaugurated in Sunyani on Saturday.

The committee has Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Regional Minister as Chairman while the other members include a lawyer, two senior police officers, a representative of the Inspector General of Police, representatives each of the regional house of chiefs, Attorney-General's Department and the 19 districts.

Mr. Justice Sam Baddoo, Chairman of the Police Council who inaugurated the committee appealed to members to look for innovative ways to address the problems confronting the Police Service in the region.

He said the government was aware of the teething problems bedeviling the Service, which include poor conditions of service, lack of adequate accommodation and transportation.

Despite these bottlenecks, Justice Baddoo noted, the government is not reneging on its efforts at providing infrastructure such as a new Police Hospital to be sited at Tamale and renovating police cells across the country.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah noted that the inauguration of the committee had come at an opportune time, when the Service was embarking on programmes to help improve its corporate image and public relations strategies. He stressed that such measures would come to naught "without 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 emphasised.

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

He mentioned that other issues as delays in the investigation of cases and the perceived use of motor checks on roads as money-making ventures rather than road safety promotion must also be done away with. Mr. Baffour-Awuah appealed to members of the public who had scores to settle with the police or against any person or group of persons 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 to partner the Regional Police Command in devising strategies to tackle resource-related problems of the Service.

He reiterated the importance of the role of the Police towards the promotion of peace and stability and socio-economic development and urged district assemblies and the committee to support the activities of the Service, particularly, in accommodation and transportation. Mr. Dapaah called on the committee members to regularly visit police stations to put them in a good stead to articulate the concerns of their organizations and to enrich their discussions.

The Interior Minister decried the poor state of police cells and called for the redesigning of the police charge offices and the establishment of a complaints centre to make these facilities more public friendly.

He charged the committee to ensure that the facilities were brought to acceptable standards.

"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, who spoke on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Patrick Acheampong, 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