The Ghana Police Service saga: a citizen’s view
Ghanaians woke up a few weeks ago to a leaked tape featuring the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman of the Northern Region, Daniel Bugri Naabu, in a conversation with some serving police officers including Commissioner of Police (COP), Mr George Alex Mensah.
The tape, which has now become a subject of parliamentary inquiry, has opened a can of worms within the service.
At his appearance before the Parliamentary Committee, COP Mensah accused the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr. George Akuffo Dampare of being the worst in recent times. A claim, I stand to differ, given all the positive reforms that we see.
As a concerned citizen, I believe the IGP’s commitment to weeding out corruption and ensuring officers adhere to a strict code of conduct has rather ruffled feathers among those accustomed to old practices.
Change is a different thing to embrace in every human institution, with the current IGP at the helm of sweeping changes, which have undeniably improved the image and effectiveness of the police force in the eyes of the public. This will undoubtedly create friction among a few elements within the Service.
It is, therefore, not surprising the internal rift Dr Dampare is facing within certain elements of the police force due to his elevation to the high office of IGP at a time when some Commissioners felt they were more deserving and also the changes he has introduced.
Against all odds, IGP Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, transformative leadership has progressively reformed the Service and improving its public image.
Reforms in the Ghana Police Service
Under the stewardship of the IGP, the Ghana Police Service has experienced a wave of reforms aimed at modernizing the force and enhancing its effectiveness.
These reforms have touched upon various aspects of policing, ranging from improving training and equipment to implementing community-oriented policing strategies. Perhaps, the most significant shift has been the emphasis on police visibility and the use of technology to drive safety.
The IGP has also brought accountability and transparency within the force. The successful implementation of technology-driven initiatives to streamline police operations including, body cameras, and a revamped emergency hotline system has not only increased efficiency but also enhanced public trust. These are visible for any member of the public to attest to.
He also introduced the body cameras, digital record-keeping, and a revamped emergency hotline system has improved the efficiency of the force and fostered public trust.
The IGP has emphasized community-oriented policing strategies, fostering stronger ties between the police and the communities they serve. Police visibility is one of his hallmarks. This approach has led to a decline in crime rates and improved public perception of the Police.
Some accuse the IGP of being an NDC plant in the Service, having served as aide-de-camp (ADC) to late President John Evans Atta Mills when he was Vice President. The role of the ADC is a professional and non-partisan position.
As a member of the security detail for the Vice President, his primary duty was to ensure the safety and security of the Vice President and his official engagements. This role did not involve any political affiliations or activities.
COP George Mensah and former IGP David Asante Appeatu have all also once served as ADCs during the NDC era in the 1990’s. In recent times, Peter Toobu was Secretary to Akufo-Addo-appointed IGP Mr David Asante Apeatu, but he went to contest an NDC parliamentary seat.
Attempts to politicize Dampare’s previous ADC role and use it to cast aspersions or insinuate that it reflects on his performance is therefore unfounded.
As the parliamentary inquiry unravels a lot of the issues, it remains to be seen how the IGP will weave the complex narrative of overwhelming public confidence in him and the dissent of a few within the serving officers.
Three areas that points to Dampare’s legacies include a renewed commitment to professionalism, accountability, and transparency within the force.
Commissioner of Police George Mensah, a prominent figure within the Ghana Police Service, has emerged as a notable opponent of Dr. Dampare’s reforms. While Commissioner Mensah’s specific grievances may vary, they are emblematic of the broader challenges within the Service which Dampare inherited.
The clash between Commissioner Mensah and IGP Dampare represents a fundamental clash in leadership styles and philosophies. Whilst both may have their support networks, definitely, the IGP might have made efforts to reach out to several factions within the service to unify the Police Service under a common vision.
While Dampare’s reforms have undoubtedly improved the Service’s image and effectiveness, they have also triggered resistance from within. Political actors have jumped into the fray. I will continue to monitor this unravelling story.
The writer is Yaw Appiah, a concerned citizen