A workshop to strengthen the relationship between the Ghana Police Service and citizenry, including issues of human rights, has been held in Accra.
The two-day meeting which commenced last Wednesday was organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), in partnership with the German Development Cooperation-GIZ, on the theme: “Strengthening the Police Service and society cooperation towards effective case management and improved accountability”.
Participants included senior police officers, officials of CHRAJ, civil society organisations and the media.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Whittal, said the purpose of the programme was also to discuss how to improve police accountability through knowledge and experience sharing with various stakeholders, understanding of each partner’s role and responsibilities, and advocacy and awareness creation.
“We want to have a Ghana Police Service that will listen to the people and ensure accountability and not to be beating people and being aggressive”, he said.
According to him, the police service was one of the key respondents to most complaints from the public at CHRAJ.
Mr Whittal, therefore, called on the Police Professionals Standards Bureau (PPSB) to endeavour to resolve such complaints amicably to win public trust to discourage people from reporting their conduct to CHRAJ.
“How can the media and civil society organisations sing your songs, send the messages on what you do, how you do what you do in such a way that the ordinary citizen has a better understanding and appreciation of the service”, he said.
The commissioner expressed hope that the meeting would enable the various stakeholders to effectively network to promote the cause of the police to ensure safety and security.
Improved Trust of Police
The Commissioner in charge of the Police Protection Directorate, Francis Ebenezer Doku, said the police had over the years, gone through various forms of transformation which he said was helping to win citizens’ trust.
“I am confident to say that gradually the police service is winning the confidence of the people due to accountability to the public. We are, therefore, on course”, DCOP Doku said.
He underlined the importance of the workshop, saying with such meetings, stakeholders would understand each other’s role better and that activities of the police would also be enhanced.
The Manager - County Component Ghana, of GIZ, Phillip Niehenke, said Ghana accepted an invitation in 2019 from the German Federal Foreign Office to be part of its programme to build and strengthen police structures in selected partner countries in Africa.GIZ, he said, was happy that through such collaborations it was supporting some reforms at PPSB which included deploying of complaint management software, and a tailormade training course on police accountability and PPSB’s mandate.
The Police, CHRAJ, CSOs and the media were expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on principles of good administration, ensuring internal and external accountability and the role of CSOs and the media as partners in ensuring police accountability at the end of the workshop.