Ensuring national security is a shared responsibility – Security Analyst

Accra- Mr Adib Saani, a Security Analyst/Executive Director of Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, has reiterated that ensuring national security is a shared responsibility and not the exclusive preserve of the men and women in uniform.

Mr Saani in a statement issued and copied to the Ghana News Agency, noted that overall, Ghanaians should see security as a shared responsibility and play their individual roles in safeguarding their communities against crime.

“Be alert, be vigilant, and report suspicious activities in your communities to the police,” the statement said.

“On this occasion however, it is sad to say We have failed the Police.”

It noted that in recent months, there had been growing public concern and anxiety over the spate of Police Officers killed in the line of duty in Ghana.

“So far this year, about six officers have been killed with the latest being the death of two Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) Officers near the Liberian refugees’ camp in Gomoa Buduburam in the Central Region,” the statement said.

“In as much I welcome the recent assurance given to Officers by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, not to be deterred by the attacks on them and to discharge their duties of keeping the country safe, the police administration has consistently failed to address the fundamentals issues confronting the service hence, the rising casualty rate,” it added.

The statement said it goes without saying that, the nature of the work of Police Officers in arresting, investigating and giving evidence against suspected criminals, makes policing a high-risk venture.

It said the constant likelihood of risk emanating from sources external to the Police was high and in many cases, largely beyond their control.

It said there were serious implications for increasing rate of Police Officers killed in the line of duty such as increasing Police casualties embolden criminals who become so audacious and impudent to the extent that they spared no moment matching the police boot to boot resulting in exchange of fierce gunfire in some instances.

It said this reached a crescendo when about a year ago, a gang of armed bandits stormed the Kwabenya District Police Headquarters to free suspected armed robbers who were in custody resulting in the death of an Inspector.

It said that the Police lose confidence in the eyes of the public, adding that many Ghanaians begun to ask how the police could protect them when the police could not protect themselves.

It said as a result, some person might take the laws into their own hands in a quest to protect themselves leading to an increase in mob injustice and in illegal firearm acquisitions.

It mentioned Police fearing for their lives leads to a loss in self-confidence hence, making them unable to efficiently perform their functions.

It said the Government and the Police Administration would have to show commitment towards countering the threat against Officers and all Ghanaians in general by addressing these issues such as Police Officers need protective gear whilst on duty.

It said the 4000 ballistic vests procured by the police administration was not enough as the police numbers far exceed that.

Others are that Police officers should be given in-service training to address risk factors and to ensure operational readiness especially at high risk areas such as Kasoa and conflict prone areas of Ghana.

It cited the need for intelligence-driven deployment and awareness of risk factors.

It said this was also possible through the development of Standard Operating Procedures for responding to scenes and complaints and also by ensuring compliance through an effective Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism.

Others are developments of a well-defined policy to enable all Police Officers at post carry side-arms even if they were on traffic duties.

“Let us be mindful of the fact that Constable Daniel Owusu was shot dead on the N1 Highway in broad daylight on 13th July, 2017 when he was on a routine patrol duty,” it said.

“Community policing should be enhanced to engender trust and restore confidence in the police.

Community involvement through operational Community Police Forums and awareness campaigns should be encouraged.”

The statement said responsible reporting by the Media was also key.

It said there was the need for legal reforms to define murder of an on-duty police officer as a crime against the State to serve as a deterrent to potential criminals.

It said introduction of body and vehicle dashboard cameras and safety measures at police stations such as CCTV cameras, panic buttons, perimeter fences and access control ensures some degree of safety for officers.

Source: Ghana News Agency