Taking the Spiritual well-being of the Police Office seriously

Last weekend, I had the privilege to wit­ness the induction ceremony of a Min­ister of the Gospel as a Chaplain of the Ghana Police Service Chaplaincy.

A Seventh-day Adventist Min­ister and a Chief Inspector of the Ghana Police Service, – by his induction becomes the first ever Adventist Minister to be inducted as a Police Chaplain in Ghana and by extension, the introduction of Adventism in Ghana Police Chaplaincy.

He will be in charge of all Adventist congregations within the Police Service in the country and also serves as the Director of wel­fare at the National Police Hospital in Accra. Incidentally, it was, for me, the first of its kind that I have witnessed.

The solemn occasion provided me with a deep insight into the need for our men in uniform to be helped to develop all their dimen­sions of life, be it body, soul and mind. The spiritual well-being of the security personnel is as import­ant as the body and mind.

Chaplaincies within the security agencies, per their mandates, are as equally important as all other units and departments in the services.

The chaplaincies help security organizations such as the Police Service, to develop their mission, value, and social justice statements that promote healing for the body, mind and spirit. Especially for faith-based healthcare organ­is––ations, such as the Adven­tist Church to promote mission awareness and enhancement of the holistic well-being of officers.

The Religious Affairs Director­ate of the Ghana Police Service, for instance, oversees all Chap­lains and Imams “who see to the spiritual needs of both serving and retired members of the Service and their dependents.” It also provides counselling services for serving and retired officers as well as their dependents.

This is of absolute importance to Service, against the backdrop of numerous disasters and accidents that befall men and women of the security services especially the Police and the Ghana National Fire Service. In recent times, police per­sonnel have been shot dead, some in gory accidents, while fire has destroyed their properties and, in some cases, lives were lost. In such situations, victims need more com­fort, love and care to sustain them and whip their morale continuously to work. Their families also need to be consoled and encouraged.

This is the primary reason why the Police Chaplaincy provides emotional, moral, and spiritual support to officers, staff, and their families. The chaplain’s responsibil­ities include performing religious rites, conducting worship services and providing confidential counsel­ling. They also advise commanders on religious, spiritual and moral matters.

Officers and their dependents are encouraged to feel comfortable in seeking help and finding support when needed. Police Chaplains pro­vide confidential support in several key areas of law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Such is expected to reduce or eliminate the incidence of anti­social behaviour among Police officers.

One intriguing factor is that although Police Chaplains and Imams may be of one denomina­tion or religion, they provide spir­itual, psychological, emotional and moral support to all officers, even if that means locating resources for individuals who do not share the same belief system.

This has become more neces­sary than ever. Today in Ghana, police officers suffer all forms of negativities including physical and verbal abuse, depression as well as suicidality in the course of their duties. It is alleged that members of the Ghana Police Service receive threats from the people within the community. It is also alleged that they put on frequent transfers (normally as a form of punishment), maltreatment from superiors, intimidation, the threat of dismissal and demotion.

Police officers especially the junior ranks are often, required to respond to calls that poten­tially expose them to traumatic events, such as rape, child abuse, car crashes, domestic violence, homicides, and emotionally charged incidences.

Obviously, such repeated exposure to traumatic events leads to secondary trauma, with its attendant psychological effects on the police officer.

Some as a result are faced with severe trauma and resort to antisocial conduct and actions. It wouldn’t be surprising therefore that some of these may account for the suicide rate within the police in times past.

It would be recalled that last year, a police constable allegedly committed suicide at duty post, at a telecommunication office, near the Obetsebi Circle, in Accra.

The deceased, identified as Abukari Salifu of the Operation­al Unit at the police headquarters, Accra, who was believed to have shot himself with a service rifle, was found in a pool of blood in a washroom at his duty post.

In another incidence, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Divine Asiam who was with the Legal and Prosecutions Unit of the Ghana Police Service allegedly committed suicide by shooting him­self at Borteyman, near Ashaiman, in the Greater Accra Region on St Valentine’s Day.

On January 30, 2021, the Half Assini District Police Commander in the Western Region, Superinten­dent of Police (SP) Cyprian Zenge, was also alleged to have taken his own life. Leaving a suicide note found read: “I am fed up in this world”.

The Minister for Interior Mr. Ambrose Dery has also told par­liament some time past that three Police officers have committed suicide in three weeks

As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the consti­tutional rights of all. To be able to diligently do this, the police officer must be of sound mind and be morally upright.

Rightly so, the Chaplin Gener­al of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Very Reverend Father George Arthur, at the ceremony, urged Chaplains and Imams of the security agencies especially the Ghana Police service to ensure the utmost pastoral care, the psycho­logical and spiritual welfare of members under their care to help uplift their moral and psychological wellbeing.

Chaplain Chief Inspector Sam­uel Danso Marfoh, has come on board at a time when the officers and men of the Ghana Police Service need the pastoral care than ever.

Among other things, he would be responsible for providing emotional, pastoral and spiritual support, while also being available to speak about issues of faith. He will contribute to the well-being of Police officers and their families mostly members of the SDA Church as well as staff and patients of the Police hospitals.

A new chapter of collabora­tion has opened on the already resounding relationship between the SDA Church and the Police Service. This will have to be used effectively to facilitate the Adven­tist Church members who serve their country in the Police Service.

the new Police Chaplain of the Adventist Church is known to be hardworking, dedicated, and knowledgeable in his chosen carrier having worked with the rapid response Unit, the WSAR Team, and the VIPP Unit among others in the service, and with a rich educational and professional background, has the fortitude to propagate the Gospel in good and bad times to ensure a police service of sound and vibrant personnel.


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