The police themselves need protection

Last Monday, there was a daylight robbery attack on a bullion van at Adedenpo, near James Town, in Accra in which a policeman and a woman were killed and two others injured. The incident has caused some issues to be raised.

One is the refusal of the Association of Bankers to heed an earlier piece of advice the Inspector General of Police, Mr Oppong Boanuh, gave to its members to provide fortified amoured bullion vans for carting money to the  more secured place.

He has now asked them to do so by the end of this month or the Ghana Police Service will withdraw its personnel from escort duties.

What excuse can the association give, now that their recalcitrance has cost the life of a policeman, a young one at that, whose only crime was discharging his escort duties to a company whose welfare conditions do not cover him?

We have not forgotten the woman killed and those injured either.

We are in a country where even individuals and officials of organisations are law to themselves and only come around to apologise (or even refuse to do so in some circumstances) when the unexpected happens.

Constable Emmanuel Osei of the Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) and Afua Badu, the trader who was also killed, no doubt, were breadwinners to families and definitely such families would suffer in diverse ways.

It is about time the state or regulatory authorities in all sectors did the needful to protect life and property.

The second issue is that as the police protect life and property, they themselves also need protection.  This is not the first time robbers have killed a policeman and it is not only robbers who kill or injure them, but also other members of the public such as drivers and land guards.

The Ghanaian Times appeals to the leadership of the Ghana Police Service to collaborate with the experts with regard to such protection, which should include fortified vehicles and personal protective equipment such bullet-proof gear.

The third problem has to do with picking of intelligence. We are not in to tell the police what to do, but our layman’s view is that the robbers took calculated or planned action by way of ambushing the bullion van.

The incident, therefore, cannot be said to have happened by accident or coincidence. How active is the country’s intelligence apparatus? Are the police collaborating with the public enough and appropriately for tip-offs?

It is an open secret that some police personnel leak details of informants to crime sources and in the end, these patriotic citizens become targets of criminals, so members of the public with information to aid intelligence withhold it.

The entire police establishment should, therefore, do introspection for the way forward.

The other issue is that most of the time the police give assurances of bringing perpetrators of all manner of crimes to book, but that becomes just talk without the walk.

Do they apprehend the criminals without informing the public about it?

Another issue is the use of motorbikes in committing crime. Our northern neighbour Burkina Faso has, to a large extent, banned motor-bikes because of their use in extremist activities. Are we waiting for the worst to happen before we do the needful?

We also think the government should consider the importance of the police in maintaining peace and order in the country for economic progress and as such equip them enough.

While we think other issues could be raised, we wish to express our condolences to the bereaved families and wish the injured speedy recovery.

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