A situation that gives the people a sense of security makes them believe that they are free from attack, damage or harm by armed robbers, terrorists, murderers, assassins, fraudsters, scams and corrupt persons in the society.
Security is a yardstick for measuring the level of good governance and democratic principles being practiced in the society.
It enhances economic growth as both local and foreign investors would always like to invest their monies where there is peace and security.
This is why all over the world it is the government that is constitutionally vested with the responsibility of ensuring the peace and security of the people.
For instance, Chapter 8, (Articles 83 and 84) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana vests in the government, specifically the President, the responsibility for ensuring the security of the country.
The Chapter sets up the National Security Council whose meetings must be chaired by the President with the Vice President, the Inspector General of Police etc, as members. Its functions include, “considering and taking appropriate measures to safeguard the internal and external security of Ghana; ensuring the collection of information relating to the security of Ghana and the integration of the domestic, and foreign security policies so as to enable the security services and other departments and agencies of government to cooperate more effectively in matters relating to national security”.
Chapter 15, (Articles 200 to 204) vests in the Ghana Police Service the task of ensuring internal security and whenever there are security lapses or breakdown of law and order, the government must not hesitate to apply very stringent sanctions.
For instance, sometime in 2005, it became necessary for the then President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to sack the country’s Inspector General of Police and six Deputy Inspector-Generals who formed the heads of the six zones in the Police Force for gross security lapses.
It was grieving, heart-throbbing as Nigerians lived in fear of attack by armed robbers for almost three years. Fear gripped Lagosians whenever the day was over and the night was drawing nigh as it was the time armed robbers operated with impunity, Lagos being the commercial hub of Nigeria.
One of the latest instances of this measure was applied in Tunis on March 20, 2015; by the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Mr. Habib Essid who did not hesitate in sacking six high ranking police officers for security lapses and deficiencies.
The Tunisian government’s sanctions followed an attack by Islamist militants on one of Tunisia’s most patronised tourist attractions-Bardo Museum – a major revenue earner for Tunisia. Twenty-three people, mainly foreign tourists, died in the attack which took place on March 18, 2015.
A more devastating case of security lapses was recorded at the Garisa University College in Kenya on April 2nd, 2015 when gunmen believed to be al-Shabab Islamist militants attacked the university, killing 148 of its 800 student population. Only two police officers were guarding the university at the time.
President Uhuru Kenyatta accepted that there were security lapses and ordered that 10,000 people should be recruited immediately to make up for the shortfall in the workforce of the Kenyan Police Service.
Prior to the attack, an on-going police recruitment exercise had been stopped by the government because, according to President Kenyatta, corruption, the cankerworm had bedeviled the exercise. He fell short of sacking any security officer.
The fascinating case of the Ghana Police Service which threatens greater security lapses in the country ought to be viewed more seriously by the government, going by the fact that it was corruption or fraud that made the Kenyan Government halt the badly needed10,000 men recruitment exercise, leaving a huge security lapse and the subsequent attack by al-Shabab.
For a clearer understanding of the case, it is important to rewind the clock. On March 7, 2015, the Ghana Police Administration reportedly interdicted Mr. Patrick Timbilla, the Commissioner of Police for the Human Resource Department for his alleged involment in a fraudulent recruitment exercise into the Ghana Police Service.
More than 20 other persons, including police officers, who had been implicated in the recruitment fraud case were arrested for investigation. In addition, their bank accounts, including that of Mr. Timbilla were frozen.
What was beyond understanding was that just six days later, on March13, seven notorious armed robbers were reported to have escaped from custody at the Denu Police Station in the Volta Region. They took away two AK-47 rifles and 25 rounds of ammunition from the station due to the fact that two police officers who were on guard duty at the station fell asleep because they were reportedly drunk.
Other instances of security lapses highlighted by The Ghanaian Times in recent times include cases where armed men gunned down a police man who was said to be on patrol at Ho in the Volta Region and the gruesome murder of a chief, Nana Kofi Mankata 57 and his driver, Richard Asante, 38, who were shot dead by unknown assailants at Adoagyiri, near Nsawam on March 30, 2015.
The reports of armed robbers and killings continue, meamwhile!
The question that appears to be on the lips of Ghanaians now is, where is our security when both high and low ranking personnel of the very agency entrusted with ensuring the security of the people are themselves neck-deep in corruption, fraud in a supposed recruitment exercise, similar to the case of the Kenya police?
Could the impression being given to the public by the police authorities by their announcement that there was no recruitment exercise into the service be that there was no need for any recruitment exercise to beef up security in the country since there was no attack from Boko Haram, or al-Shabab?
The normal thing for the government to do in the circumstances of the security lapses listed above would be to adopt a holistic approach to address the challenges facing the Ghana Police Service with a view to re-organising and implementing massive police reforms that would reposition the Service. The starting point would be a systematic but steady effort by the government to weed out the bad eggs from the Ghana Police Service and order an immediate recruitment exercise to beef up the workforce.
Equipping the Service with modern and sophisticated arms and ammunition would aide effective control and prevention of crime as it would give the police the confidence to confront any group of attackers and help ensure the security of the people.
Special attention should be given to the provision of vehicles. Constant training and re-training of the personnel and a crash programme to re-orientate them would help sharpen their skills and professionalism and ensure effective policing.
Another move towards ensuring the safety of the people is community policing. This would facilitate any programme by the government to mop up all illegal arms and ammunition in circulation, including dane guns. There should be close monitoring of areas where aliens are concentrated especially Greater Accra in the search for illegal arms, ammunition and undesirable elements.
Preventive policing should be the order of the day. For this to be possible, special attention would be paid to intelligence gathering.
Above all, the President must take any action that questions the functions of the security agencies and puts the security of the people on the line very seriously. This is if politicians stay silent because in the face of brutal killings, armed robberies, massive fraud, corruption, economic and organised crimes, the world will stay silent towards them.
By James Dadzie