The Bureau of Public Safety has observed with grave concern a growing and disturbing trend of mutual disrespect for rights and freedoms and lack of trust between civil society and the police. This if not addressed with urgency, public tranquility and law and order will grind to a complete halt thereby threatening our democratic development.
We reference three (3) incidents within the past week that also received good coverage from the media:
- The assault of three (3) Ghanaian Times journalists in Accra
- Kennedy Agyepong’s (Honorable Member of Parliament for Assin North) attack on the Central Regional Police Commander at the University of Education, Winneba campus, Central Region, and
- The assault of a Police Officer by two (or more) persons at Weija in the Greater Accra Region.
The aforementioned incidents are symptomatic of grave institutional failure and lack of systems that will offer civil hearing, in a trusted environment with assurance of confidence that will provide trust for a need to lodge complaints, and hope to receive fair hearing.
The Bureau of Public Safety maintains that the police are the most visible manifestation of our democracy, thus the need for them to be responsive to public needs and expectations; and use the authority of the State in the people’s interest.
In the light of the foregoing, the Bureau of Public Safety reiterate calls for :
- The establishment of a permanent and independent police complaints body
- Immediate action be taken against the officers who assaulted the three journalists; arrest and prosecute
a) Mr. Kennedy Agyapong for obstructing a law enforcement officer from performing his lawful duties and
b) the two (2) or more persons involved in the assault of the police officer at Weija, in Accra.
- We further urge the Police Administration to make a bold and categorical statement to its officers and men that it is not an offense for anyone to record them in public space in so far as that action does not inhibit or interfere with the discharge of their lawful duties.
- Lastly, we cannot overemphasize the need to re-orient the entire police service members to reconcile and firm their psyche to the tenets of democratic policing and on delivery of service rather than exacting force on the citizenry whose fundamental rights and freedoms are to be protected by the police.
Public trust and confidence in the police are prerequisites for effective policing. Without this trust the public will not be willing to cooperate with the police in the discharge of their duty and may continue to physically challenge their authority to enforce the law thereby compromising public tranquility and undermining our democratic experiment.
Authorized for Immediate Release Date: 17/03/2019