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This police initiative must succeed

BY: Daily Graphic

The police in every country play a very vital role in ensuring peace and security that allows citizens to go about their daily activities freely.

Every government recognises this role and strives to work towards the recruitment of the globally recommended ratio of one policeman to every 500 people.
 
This ratio has been very difficult to achieve in many countries, including Ghana, as targets set by the authorities to ensure effective policing have been difficult to meet, in view of the lack of resources to train enough policemen to meet that objective.

Not too long ago, the Police Administration introduced the police visibility concept under which policemen were posted to vantage points in the towns and cities to prevent crime and ensure the safety of citizens.

But that was short-lived.

With the introduction of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the Police Service has modernised infrastructure and services that support crime detection and prevention.

Indeed, the use of ICT to fight crime has gained great momentum globally.

In Africa, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt are some of the countries that have robust ICT systems that the security agencies use to prevent, detect and fight crime.

Gradually but steadily the Ghana Police Service is pushing hard to utilise technology to help combat crime in the country.

Only last week, the Daily Graphic carried a story about the introduction of body cameras for use by policemen on field operations.

Unknown to many Ghanaians, the Police Administration has also deployed an ICT-run centre that enables it to monitor key areas across the country to make up for the shortfall in the police-citizen ratio.

The initiative has been described by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante-Apeatu, as “managing crime with technology” and the Daily Graphic applauds that initiative by the Police Administration.

Although physical police presence serves to deter the committal of crime, the use of technology can help with the effective utilisation of the limited human resource any institution might have, particularly our Police Service.

We believe the introduction of ICT into the operations of the Police Service will also go a long way to professionalise the activities of personnel.

Certainly, this is just the beginning, and as the IGP indicated, more cameras and other equipment are needed to ensure that the requisite preventive and protective systems are in place to make policing more efficient and effective.

Although the provision and deployment of these gadgets does not provide a 100 per cent safety net for the citizenry, we believe it will go a long way to enhance the security systems.

The Daily Graphic, therefore, urges the government to do everything in its power to provide the requisite logistics to make the system work.

We also appeal to the Police Administration to endeavour to put in place measures that will prevent its personnel at the centres or those using the gadgets from abusing them.

It is also imperative that the administration sets as a priority the maintenance of these gadgets, so that the centres and their equipment and accessories do not get damaged, only to throw to the wind the laudable initiative.