Nine thousand community policing assistants have been deployed to assist the police in their fight against crime in various communities.
The personnel, who were recruited by the Ghana Police Service, in collaboration with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), were drawn from the various electoral areas and taken through six weeks’ training at the national and regional police training schools.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, the Director General of the Patrols Unit and Community Policing of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Yaagi Akuriba, said the move formed part of the police transformational agenda which, among other things, had devolved community policing to the electoral areas.
He said the idea was to enable the community policing assistants to be visible and accessible in their communities, so that people who were in distress could quickly contact them for immediate or prompt assistance.
He said the police had taken the fight against crime and other social vices to the communities where the criminals lived and had been operating to enable community members to get involved in their own security.
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Mr Akuriba said the transformational programme was designed to build a world-class police service capable of dealing with traditional and emerging crimes.
The transformational programme thrives on five key thematic areas — welfare and professional development of officers, community policing, criminal investigation, monitoring and international affairs and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
“Prioritisation of those thematic areas falls in line with the government’s 13-point strategic objectives aimed at empowering the Police Service to deliver on its mandate, and at the core of the transformational programme is the use of modern technology to deliver up-to-speed security services, in line with the United Nations (UN) policing standards,” he said.
He said under the community policing concept, some youth were recruited from their electoral areas and trained to patrol their respective areas with two regular policemen, since the assistants were familiar with the areas and could report immediately to the police if they saw any suspicious characters lurking around their areas.
He said the community policing assistants were trained in batches of 3,000 and so far the third batch, totalling 9,000, had already been trained and deployed.
The director general said in all, the police were to recruit and train 36,000 community policing assistants, in collaboration with the YEA, but due to circumstances beyond control, they had to settle on 15,000 for now, saying the number would be increased in subsequent years.
Mr Akuriba said every electoral area was tasked to produce the names of the unemployed youth there for the YEA for recruitment and training to enable them to go on patrols with two regular policemen.
He said fighting crime was a shared responsibility and that with the support of the communities, that concept would go a long way to reduce the incidence of crime in the communities.
He advised members of the public to form neighbourhood watch committees, saying it was another efficient way to fight crime.