The Ghana Police Service and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) are piloting a remodelled community-based policing strategy, with the objective of finding solutions to security issues in the country.
The move is to improve public trust in the police and enhance cooperation among the police, the citizenry and the communities.
We know that the issue of community policing is not new in the country, as a department or unit was set up at the Police Headquarters to oversee the implementation of the project, not only to resolve issues of security in our various communities but also serve as fulcrum for intelligence gathering to assist the police to combat crime.
But, as is typical of the Ghanaian and the police in particular, we make much noise, amidst fanfare, to launch initiatives, but overtime, we go to sleep and such laudable initiatives are abandoned.
Examples are the tent city and the visibility projects initiated by former Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs), Paul Tawiah Quaye and Mohammed Alhassan.
These were laudable projects which brought about trust and confidence in the police and also scared criminals away from causing trouble. But, as we speak, what is the status of these projects?
While acknowledging the initiative by the Police Administration to remodel the community policing initiative to introduce reforms, with the view to promoting ethics and professional image-building, problem-oriented policing, crime prevention and the neighbourhood watch committee concept, the Daily Graphic expects that such programmes, when introduced, will be sustained.
The paper is aware of efforts to transform the Ghana Police Service into the most respected institution in Ghana and a reference point for the rest of the world.
As the Director-General in charge of National Patrols of the Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Paul Awini, said, such a vision could only be realised through intended actions on the part of the police.
The question we ask is: how will the police progress if every new IGP abandons the programmes and policies of his predecessor?
The Daily Graphic believes that the police can achieve a lot if they sustain the programmes and policies they initiate.
It is also important that, from time to time, the Police Administration reviews some of such programmes and makes appropriate adjustments to them to address the changing needs of society.
It is in this light that we welcome the remodelled community policing initiative which will focus on the training system of the Ghana Police Service, police accountability and community policing.
Fortunately, the remodelling will come up with the development of standardised training for policemen and the development of an aide memoire which will summarise the community policing concept for policemen.
The Daily Graphic thinks that such information and knowledge should not be shared with only personnel of the Community Policing Department but also all police personnel. After all, all policemen, in one way or another, engage members of communities at different levels, especially when the Police Administration is encouraging its personnel to stay within communities, instead of at the barracks.
It is our hope that the Police Administration and its personnel will respond positively to the changing face of policing, especially community policing. We are happy that the sponsors, GIZ, are providing the requisite logistics, including a starter set, a public address system, a projector, a projector screen and a laptop, to support the implementation of community policing at the local level.
We believe that if the personnel utilise these gadgets effectively and also relate rationally to members of the communities and not as intimidatory personnel, they will help to build safe, secure and peaceful communities through partnership with members of the communities and other stakeholders.
The Daily Graphic urges members of the various communities to receive the police with open arms to ensure the success of the programme. That way, their safety and that of their properties will be guaranteed.
Every Ghanaian must come on board to ensure that the remodelled community policing works.