Police casualties; something must be done

BY: Daily Graphic
Police casualties; something must be done
Police casualties; something must be done

Before the establishment of a professional police force in the country, various societies had their own way of ensuring law and order. The palaces of our chiefs had people whose duty was to effect arrests and ensure that there was peace, law and order in the communities.

The work of the police, as an institution, has changed over the years, but its importance, even in modern societies, especially a pure democratic state such as Ghana, where the dignity of the citizenry and the freedom of the individual reign supreme, has not eroded.

Even with its scarce resources, Ghana does its best to make budgetary allocations to the police service for personnel to be able to carry out their constitutional mandate of protecting lives and property, keeping the peace and enforcing the law.

Though we are not yet at the UN benchmark of one policeman to 500 people, and in spite of the few bad lots who occasionally challenge the image of the institution, our police service is arguably one of the best on the continent and its personnel score high marks around the globe for their knowledge and professionalism.

The Daily Graphic has had occasions to comment on what seems to be excesses of the police in their line of duty. But when an institution that is solely established and recognised by all as being responsible for our internal security, law and order is attacked as it carries out its lawful duty, to the extent that some of its personnel lose their lives, then there is every cause for all to be concerned.

The Kwabenya incident, in which some gunmen stormed the district police headquarters, killed a police officer and released suspects in custody, is still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians.

In July 2017, two policemen who made the attempt to foil a robbery at Lapaz in Accra were shot at by the robbers, leading to the instant death of one of the policemen.
And just last July, some armed men believed to be robbers gunned down a policeman on the outskirts of Ayirebikrom in the Brong Ahafo Region.

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The incidents are too many to recount. And just last Saturday, unknown gunmen shot at some policemen who were responding to a distress call, wounding four of them, along with a civilian.

The Daily Graphic thinks we cannot continue to endure this as a country and so something concrete should be done, and immediately too, to forestall these occurrences.

It is true that there are competing needs, but we think the country cannot trade its security for anything, for which reason we should find the resources, wherever they are, to get the best crime-fighting equipment for our policemen.

The Police Administration should also have a relook at the mode and methods of training and retraining of its personnel to be able to adequately deal with the current high levels of crime and their resultant casualties among our peace officers. We cannot afford to lose breadwinners just because they have sacrificed to protect the rest of us.

We also remind citizens that crime combat is a shared responsibility and so we should all help by volunteering information that will lead to the arrest of criminals to make society peaceful and safe for all.

The Daily Graphic entreats the police to go after these criminals and bring them to face the law to send the clearest signal to others that they cannot live in society and arrogate to themselves the power of lawlessness.