Don’t sacrifice police professionalism!

In their attempt to dismantle a roadblock mounted by the students of the Islamic Senior High School (SHS) in the vicinity of their school to ensure free flow of traffic and restore law and order, the police in Kumasi fired warning shots to disperse the students.

Following that,  at least 20 students of the SHS in Kumasi were rushed to the hospital, some injured and others traumatised following an alleged clash with the police.

Due to the student action, which some describe as a demonstration, and the police response, academic work was grounded as parents thronged the school to check on their children amid heavy security.

The so-called demonstration was organiised to protest the failure of the relevant authorities to construct speed humps in the area, including the front of their school, to check the frequent accidents there.

Reports said what angered the students the most to mount the roadblocks was the knockdown of a female teacher of the school over the weekend.

Why should the police fire gunshots, knowing they were dealing with SHS students, who obviously were not armed but demonstrating to register their displeasure over a situation that was threatening lives, particularly theirs and those of their teachers.

The conduct of the police these days raises a lot of concern with regard to their policing knowledge, skills and ethics, as well as how they present themselves to the members of the public.

It seems the police do not care about professionalism and their relationship with the public any more.

The police nowadays are in the habit of showing even harmless people that they have the coercive power of the state and so even where it is obvious that they are wrong, no one has the right to question their conduct.

The police must distinguish between dealing with violent crime and criminals on one hand and other acts even if they infringe the law.

Should the police quell SHS student demonstration with gunshots, even if they were just tear gas?

Using the gun all the time smacks of the police always trying to have it easy even if that easy way gives them out as unprofessional personnel.

When would the Ghanaian police use persuasive skills, including communication, to dissuade people from doing the untoward when it matters most?

Is it always the case that the police should teach others where power lies?

The primary functions of the police include prevention and detection of crime, apprehending offenders; and maintaining public order and safety of persons and properties.

The function of maintaining public order and safety of persons and properties, in particular, calls for the highest demonstration of professionalism but this is where the police mostly fail because they choose what they think is the easy way out and end up making enemies for themselves.

One reason the public would not like to support the police in their work borders on their imperious attitude, where they see themselves as super humans and others sub-humans.

Besides the poor conduct of some police personnel, it seems policing knowledge and skills are not being applied as needed, which raises issues with competence and the security of the public.

Did the police in Kumasi not pick any intelligence that the Islamic SHS students were going to demonstrate or block roads?

Do the police learn lessons from incidents across the country which have dented their reputation?

The Ghanaian Times only appeals to the students and teachers of the Islamic SHS, parents and other family members to exercise restraint and allow the police, hopefully professional ones to investigate the incident for the appropriate action to be taken by the powers that be.

And while the investigation is yet to be concluded, let the district assembly construct speed humps in front of the school and other possible points in the area.

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