Many Ghanaians are hailing the Inspector General of Police, Dr George Akuffo Dampare, for his uncompromising response in combating crime in the country.
Under his leadership, the police have made swift and decisive arrests, including high-profile pastors and musicians, for causing fear and panic in the society.
Other strides are his unannounced night patrol visits. Just last week, the IGP and the Western Regional Police Command were seen in the middle of the night patrolling the streets at St Benedict Hospital duty point - Inchaban Hills, Sekondi to ensure safety and security on the roads.
Safety and security
Really, must a whole IGP undertake patrols, naysayers are asking? My view is why not and that is what I call servant leadership or leadership by example. For far too long, these positive attributes have been missing in our schedules drawing the fortune of the country backwards.
But while the praise is loudest, IGP Dampare and his team of service personnel cannot be complacent but to work even harder to meet and sustain the huge expectation of Ghanaians. There is a lot of work to do out there to get the whole country safe and free from all criminal engagements. This will enable the citizenry to go about their activities without fear.
Friendly, effective policing
As it is, we need more than ever before a friendly but visible and effective policing. The era where the police hide in bushes or at the corners of streets and pounce on offending drivers with "I catch you..." slogan must cease forthwith giving way to a visible policing, efficiently professional, loyal and committed to working for the good of the nation. I have come across a few police officers who are educators by all standards and in all instances, I have not only applauded but shared compliments with them. After all, effective policing is a shared responsibility.
The Ghana Police Service (GPS) has over the last few years initiated a number of activities to back its operations as part of efforts to give the GPS a new image.
As a feather in the cap, more recently, there seems to be something positive happening within the GPS. Since the assumption of office of the New IGP, there is evidence of enhanced lease of life, vibrancy and dynamism within the service. The last few weeks has also seen the GPS hold stakeholders engagement including with the media, celebrities, football administrators, religious leaders, Ghana Cocoa Board and Civil Society Organisations.
Happily, a paradigm shift in the police architecture is underway and it must be sustained to give it a world- class outlook.
The GPS has received a lot of battering from members of the public over real or perceived bribery, irresponsiveness to complaints, exposure of details of informants to criminals and a loss of what their duties are when it comes to ensuring the safety of citizens, preventing, detecting and dealing with crime as well as enforcing the law.
But we, the citizens, have been complicit in these allegations in one way or the other. We have used our positions, relationships and other contacts to seek help from the police. When these happen, personnel of the Service would certainly prefer to resolve matters on the quiet rather than to be called by a superior to let matters be.
But since Dr Dampare took over as IGP, many are beginning to see a positive change in the GPS and, for that matter, a new image of the GPS. The personnel seem to be more emboldened to perform their roles without fear or favour. Precisely, Dr Dampare himself has taken the lead not only in shaping the image of the GPS but has shown to the rest of the world that being appointed as an officer does not mean you should go to sleep or sit comfortably in your office to enjoy the freebies of the position.
Apart from visiting crime scenes and commiserating with victims of crime, Dr Dampare continues to lead special operations including night patrols to check and deal with crime.
As the Chief Constable, there is no excuse to sit back and expect that the fight against crime would be won on a silver platter. It calls for proactive measures from each and every police officer playing his or her part to justify the taxpayer’s money being spent on them. If the whole IGP is on the ground fighting crime, what justification has any other rank and file member in going to sleep when there is crime to combat?
The innovations in the GPS are welcoming and as citizens, we must all help the security apparatus to deliver on their mandate. This calls for proactiveness from all citizens and not reactionary. In this era, where our neighbouring countries are suffering from some form of turmoil, it is imperative that we act our part to build a very strong police service to enable the service personnel to serve us better.
Thankfully, today, the police are more visible. Indeed, many of us have been happy after seeing our police personnel at major road intersections, horse patrol, the use of CCTVs to apprehend erring motorists on our roads and the birth of the K-9 Unit, where dogs are used for operational duties to track and detect suspects, among other roles.
It is said that fighting crime is a shared responsibility and we can only be motivated by these proactive measures by helping our security agencies, especially the police, who are our first line of defence, with the requisite information to fight crime.