Private security groups told to stay away from politics

•     Mr. Mark Woyongo (middle) with the participants.    Photo:  Michael Ayeh

• Mr. Mark Woyongo (middle) with the participants. Photo: Michael Ayeh

PRIVATE security organisations (PSOs) have been warned not to get closer to election activities to forment trouble.

They should also not allow themselves to be coerced by politicians and political parties to engage in acts that can mar next year’s general elections.

The Minister of the Interior, Mr. Mark Owen Woyongo, who gave the warning on the sidelines of a day’s training workshop for PSOs in Accra yesterday, said government would not countenance any such acts from them.

He said there was no problem for political parties to engage PSOs to provide security at their premises, but monitoring elections and escorting ballot papers should be left in the hands of the state security agencies.

Mr. Woyongo said the law which established the organisations clearly spelt out their mandate to complement state security by contributing towards the overall security in the country.

Unfortunately, he said, many of them were not adhering to the dictates of the regulations, hence the widespread violations, particularly possessing firearms and ammunition, contrary to the regulations.

Besides, some of the organisations use uniforms very similar to those of the police and military, sometimes with similar badges or rank,” he stated.

The Minister also mentioned the possession of handcuffs, pepper spray, tasers and other accoutrements without laid down procedures.

“Some of the personnel recruited as security guards do not go through vetting, training and certification as required by law”, noting that under normal circumstances such persons were required to be vetted by the National Security to ensure that they did not have any criminal record.

According to Mr. Woyongo, even though the PSOs were supposed to submit samples of uniforms, caps, badges, accoutrements and other identification marks to the Inspector General of Police for approval, many of them failed to do so.

“In the light of recent happenings, I shall be directing the IGP to set up a team to review the regulations governing the regulations of PSOs”, he said.

The workshop, the Minister said, was relevant to assess their performance and also discuss issues between the PSOs and the Ghana Police Service.

He commended them for their work, saying the nation was appreciative of their work which, among other things, had brought about relative peace in the country, however, a lot remained to be done.

The acting IGP, Mr. John Kudalor, said the workshop would, among others, discuss how best the two bodies could collaborate in providing security in the country.

He recalled that as Director-General of Police Operations, he liaised with the PSOs to the extent of having their representative in the Police Operations Room, but unfortunately, such collaboration had been absent.

He stated that “despite the robustness of the state security, the services of PSOs are relevant,” adding that the police, especially could not be everywhere to provide security.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour       

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