Accra, The Ghana Police Service has arrested 23 private security officers from 11 Private Security Organisations (PSOs) within the Greater Accra Region for operating in violation of the Regulation that established these organisations.
The arrests were carried out in a recent operation undertaken by the Police Security and Operations Directorate (PSOD) within the Osu, Labone, Cantonments and East Legon areas.
Various prohibited items including unapproved uniforms and riot control gears were retrieved from the PSOs, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Paul Manly Awini, the Director-General of PSOD of the Ghana Police Service, announced on Thursday.
There were 158 PSOs in Good Standing, which has currently increased to 216.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, Mr Manly Awini said the arrests, which would be extended to all the regions, formed part of measures by the Police Service and the Ministry of the Interior to sanitise the operations of the private securities.
He said investigations were on-going to check the status regarding other provisions in the Regulation after which those arrested would be arraigned for prosecution.
The Police Service Regulation 1992 (LI1571) which derives its powers from section 38 of the Police Service Act 1970 (350) state, among other things, that no person licensed or granted a permit under the Legislation shall bear or possess any fire arm or ammunition in the course of his or her duties.
The Regulation states that no person shall establish an organisation to perform services of watching, guarding, patrolling or carriage for providing protection against crime, unless granted a license for that purpose by the Minister of the Interior.
The Regulation also provided that no person shall engage an organisation for an investigation or service unless that organisation has a valid licensed under the law.
However, Mr Awini said in spite of those clear provisions in the Regulation, some PSOs were operating without licenses, engaging employees without permits, using unapproved uniforms and articles while others defiantly armed their security guards with weapons.
All these are blatant violations of the Regulation and posing serious threats to management of internal security.
As a result of these violations, there is the likelihood for criminals to take advantage of the situation to engage in various criminal activities such as robbery, stealing, and virtually terrorizing law abiding citizens using weapons, uniforms and other articles, he said.
Mr Awini, therefore, cautioned all PSOs who were using uniforms that have resemblance with those being used by the State security agencies to withdraw them and submit them to the Police with immediate effect.
All PSOs whose uniforms have not been vetted by the Police were also being asked to immediately submit them for vetting.
DCOP Awini said PSOs that were operating without licenses were to take immediate steps to obtain licenses from the Ministry of the Interior.
He advised businesses and individuals who wanted to engage the services of any PSO to check with the Police to ensure that such PSO was duly registered and operating within the law before contracting them.
This is because they will be violating the law by engaging the services of such unlicensed PSOs, not to mention the security risk of using the services of such PSOs, Mr Awini noted.
Mr Awini said the Police and Ministry of the Interior Joint Taskforce would sustain the monitoring and enforcement in all the regions including private security guards of assemblies and academic institutions to ensure that all PSOs complied with the law.
Meanwhile, Mr Awini said the Police would continue to engage members of the Association of Security Organisations, Ghana, to educate them on the regulations and the need to practice within the confines of the law.
Source: Ghana News Agency