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GII deplores low performance of police narcotics unit

Despite recognising that Ghana has chalked up success in curbing drug trafficking, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) says the investigative body of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), the Narcotics Unit, still lags behind in conforming to international standards.

The GII, has noted that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, which prosecutes matters related to drug trafficking, has low level of compliance with international standards on drug trafficking.

However, GII, the Ghana chapter of Transparency International (TI), has observed that the Criminal Division of the High Court has an appreciable level of conformance to such international standards on drug trafficking and corruption-related issues.

These revelations follow a research by GII in conjunction with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to William Nyarko of the Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), a research GII conducted indicated that the Drug Law Enforcement Unit (Narcotics Unit) of the GPS was in “compliance by 20 per cent of international standards.”

He said that, “The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution was in compliance by 36 per cent while the Criminal Division of the High Court was in compliance by 48 per cent.”

Mr Nyarko made these findings public when he presented a report of the law enforcement accountability in Ghana at a forum of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the media and other actors within the law enforcement value change in Accra on Tuesday.

Miss Mina Mensah, the Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), underscored the fact that an independent oversight body was necessary to enhance accountability in the GPS.

“Policing demands additional control as it improves oversight and increases accountability,” she stated.

Miss Mensah also said the GPS needed an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to halt the unfortunate recurring instances of police misconduct.

She added that the IPCC would increase the internal police oversight mechanisms to address and supplement existing oversight mechanisms to handle complaints.

This, she noted, would restore the confidence in the GPS to make it more engaging with the public and make the Service more responsive to individual and public concerns.

Miss Mensah further stated that the IPCC would always assure officers of an impartial process for resolving cases of misconduct and strengthen internal oversight.

This research forms part of the CRIMJUST project, which is aimed at enhancing the capacities and integrity of criminal justice institutions to tackle drug trafficking and transnational organised crime along the drug trafficking routes in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa.

The CRIMJUST project is being done in collaboration with the UNODC, which centres on three pillars – capacity building, interregional co-operation and institutional integrity.

BY FRANCIS NTOW AND ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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