The Police Ladies Association (POLAS) has climaxed its 70th anniversary with a durbar and awards ceremony in Accra.
The climax of the month-long celebration, on the theme: “70 years of Women Policing in Ghana: The Evolution and Future”, featured beautiful drill displays by an all-female contingent at the all-female police parade.
The anniversary celebration also saw the recognition and honouring of the first 12 policewomen enlisted into the then Gold Coast Police Force in 1952 for setting the pace for women policing in the country.
Three living retired policewomen officers, namely: Police Woman (PW) 3 Margaret Darkwah, PW 4 Adelaide Tagoe and PW 6 Gladys Parker-French, received their awards in person, while the nine who had passed away were honoured posthumously.
The durbar and the awards, held at the National Police Training School in Accra, had the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, as the guest of honour.
It was well attended by dignitaries, including the Inspector General of Police, Dr George Akuffo Dampare; a former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings; a former Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood; the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey; a Deputy Attorney-General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, among others.
Exhibition of high professionalism
Mrs Osei-Opare commended female police personnel in the country for their excellent exhibition of professionalism in the maintenance of law and order in the country.
She said extensive research evidence showed that women in policing were impacting significantly on law enforcement practices in diverse ways in the country.
“Not only have Ghanaian policewomen won awards locally; they are also highly recognised by the United Nations and the International Association of Women Police. This is a testimony to your slogan: ‘Arise and Shine’, as you continue to rise and shine each passing day.
“We are proud to celebrate you today because of the invaluable contributions you continue to make to the socio-economic, cultural, political, justice administration and human security development of the country. We applaud you all for these remarkable achievements,” she said.
Mrs Osei-Opare said the anniversary had presented a worthy opportunity to reflect and celebrate the progress made by policewomen, who previously could not rise to the level of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) “but today occupy key strategic and command positions, both home and abroad, and have brought confidence, honour and glory to the service and Ghana”.
“Presently, female recruitment into the Police Service has significantly increased from a humble beginning of 12 policewomen 70 years ago to 12,454 out of the total 43,546, representing 29 per cent. Similarly, there are currently 282 female senior officers, out of 1,456 senior officers in the Ghana Police Service, which represents 19 per cent,” she noted.
In line with the government’s commitment to the promotion of human rights and the empowerment of women, Mrs Osei Opare said, there had been ratification of key international instruments.
The National Gender Policy, she explained, had been developed with comprehensive insights into the empowerment, rights, access to justice, leadership and accountable governance, gender roles and relations and economic opportunities for women.
“I want to assure you that the government has a policy that further enhances and continues to provide a clear framework for addressing inequalities which are deeply rooted in our society. We will continue to ensure that female police officers continue to benefit from these initiatives,” she said.
She called for more policewomen to be given the opportunity to rise to the top, buttressing it with a quote from Sheryl Sandberg: “We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.”
Roll out more programmes
Mrs Osei-Opare called on the Police Administration to roll out career development programmes to equip police personnel with the requisite knowledge and skills on contemporary policing and emerging crime trends to keep pace with everyday happenings.
“Let me reiterate that the government will continue to support and consolidate the gains you have made since 1952. It is my expectation that after the month-long celebration, you will develop and adopt a blueprint which will have a far-reaching impact not only on policewomen but the service as a whole,” she said.
The Chief of Staff thanked the present and past IGPs for adopting and promoting policies over the years which had resulted in female police empowerment and brought women policing far and also commended the Executive Council of POLAS, both past and present, for organising the month-long historic anniversary and making it a success.
Today’s success, forebears’ sacrifices
The President of POLAS, Commissioner of Police (COP) Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, said women policing had come far because of the sacrifices, commitments and dedication that its forebears made and present policewomen were continuing.
She said the historical background of women policing in Ghana was more inspiring than regretful because “this feat did not come as a result of sleeping on a bed of roses in the service but rather defining ourselves to meet up with the daily challenges of the changing phases of the policing in Ghana”.