They said some of the police personnel have become informants to criminals in the municipality and therefore, called for an overhaul of the service to stem the growing insecurity in the region.
“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the government to cause the transfer of the police command in the region, as well as the transfer all officers who have spent more than five years from the region to pave the way for new personnel to take their place,” they said.
The region in recent months has experienced some cases of armed robberies, resulting in the killing of three people in separate incidents and several injuries.
The height of insecurity became more alarming when a journalist with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation was attacked, and about 15 shops in the Wa Central Market were broken into by armed robbers.
The residents raised these concerns at the second municipal town hall meeting held on Thursday.
It was organised by the Action for Sustainable Development (ASUDEV), in collaboration with the municipal assembly as part of measures towards ensuring accountability at the local level.
In attendance were the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Issahaku Nuhu Puthiaha, heads of department, the Municipal Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Stephen Boye Tetteh, heads of other security agencies and a cross section of residents.
According to the residents, most of the police officers had compromised with the criminals to the extent that some of them had become informants to these criminals.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Saani Ibrahim, said some of police personnel were in bed with criminals in the municipality.
Recounting an ordeal he experienced, he said on April 1, a woman was attacked at the hospital junction and the case was reported to the police by one Gowaeulo, a lotto agent at Wa.
However, he said the police subsequently disclosed his identity to the criminals and he was subsequently trailed and killed by the robbers.
He said the police were aware of the hideouts of all the criminals in the municipality, and yet pretend they do not know anything about that.
Mr. Ibrahim said residents are now living in fear due to the increasing spate of robberies in the municipality.
He stressed the need for the police hierarchy to do something about the situation to avert people from taking the law into their hands.
Meanwhile, the Municipal Police Commander, Mr. Tetteh, has denied the assertion, describing it as mere allegations.
He said the police were doing their best within the constraints, adding that “What we need is the support of residents and the general public and not unfounded allegations”.
Mr. Tetteh called on those making those allegations to openly come out and name police officers engaged in criminal activities, so that the Service could take proper sanctions against them.
He appealed for calm among residents, and assured that the situation was under control.
On his part, the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Puthiaha, affirmed the allegations by the residents, but was quick to add that everything possible was being done to ensure that the safety of residents is guaranteed.
He said security had been high on the agenda of the Assembly, since it was a pre-requisite for development.
By Cliff Ekuful, Wa