THE POLICE MUST UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS!

We are appalled by a video that has gone viral on social media of some police personnel and city traffic wardens who were captured as they wrestled down a “trotro driver” at Adenta, a suburb of Accra, ostensibly for committing traffic offence a few days ago.

We believe the driver must have angered the police personnel who applied what in their parlance, “the reasonable force” to put the fear of the law in him. They succeeded in wrestling him down and put the hand-cuffs in his hands.

We recall in the video, people standing by asking why the police would apply such brutal force in the name of “arrest ,” as the police personnel wrestled the man down like butchers wrestling a cow  to be slaughtered.

The scene was so horrendous that, it attracted the resentment of the people around who were questioning what the driver had done to warrant such inhumane treatment from the police.

This certainly is a clear case of human rights abuse and wrongful application of reasonable force. Similarly, we also condemn the tendency of people who appear rude, aggressive, disrespectful and confrontational towards the police, especially when in the view of the police, there has been an infraction of the law.

We wish to state that the 1992 Constitution of Ghana recognises and upholds the fundamental human rights. Article 15(1) states: “The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.”

Additionally, (2) states “No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained, be subjected to … “(a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.”

Besides, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the global community in 1948 recognises “the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the World.”

It is on this backdrop that we humbly submit that the police personnel involved acted ultra vires. The Ghanaian Times finds it unacceptable for a uniformed police to engage in “street battle” with offenders. Ideally, the police needs to serve the offender a notice to appear before it to answer for any wrong doing.

Additionally, the police could have taken note of the driver and easily picked him up for questioning and possible prosecution for wrong doing at the station since the police personnel have been interacting with the trotro drivers and are aware of their various stations.

Indisputably, the police institution is expected to be fearsome in the maintenance of law and order because in the absence of enforcement of the law, there would be total chaos and disorder. Regrettably, society has failed to give the police the respect it deserves. Maybe, the police institution is partly blamable.

We believe upholding human rights and freedom form part of the curriculum of the police training, and the personnel must endeavour to abide by these fundamental tenets and be more professional in their dealings with wrongdoers.

We urge the Ghana Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Department to conduct investigations into this and address the unfortunate “street battle” in police arrests.

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