The police in the Oti Region say inadequate court facilities in the region is affecting the enforcement of sanctions related to breaches of COVID-19 protocols in the area.
The Regional Police Command has also complained that limited holding spaces in the police cells in the newly created region have made it impossible for the police to effect arrests of those who breach the protocols.
According to the police, the development was proving a major challenge to the operations of the police in the region.
The Oti Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Sebastian Atsu Wemegah, said under the circumstance, the police had resorted to other means such as education and warning to get people to comply with the relevant protocols.
DCOP Wemegah disclosed these challenges to the media during a disinfection exercise at 54 police installations in the region by Zoomlion Ghana Limited (ZGL).
He said the police had had to tread cautiously with mass arrests of those who flouted the law in order to prevent the holding cells from becoming possible conduits for the spread of the disease.
DCOP Wemegah indicated that Dambai, the regional capital, for instance, had a magistrate court which sat only on Fridays, and, therefore, if people were arrested, they either had to be warned and released, or would have to be kept till the next court date.
“Most places do not have courts. If you arrest someone for a crime such as not adhering to COVID-19 protocols, you may have to send the person to Jasikan, which is a long way from here. In that case, we just allow people to go with caution,” he said.
“Here in Dambai, we have a magistrate court which sits only on Fridays, and per the law, we cannot keep people for more than 48 hours, so it is really a problem for us,” the Regional Police Commander said.
Mr Wemegah disclosed that as part of the police’s initiative in the region to address the issue of non-compliance, people who were arrested for not wearing face masks were made to buy it and then cautioned.
“Because of the problem of not having courts and space for the people in our cells, when we see you without face mask, we get you to a vendor and force you to buy one,” he stressed.
The exercise, part of the second phase of the police COVID-19 fumigation operation, saw the disinfection of all police cells, offices and barracks, and the precincts of those facilities.
DCOP Wemegah described the exercise as very beneficial, stressing that it would reassure police personnel that their working environment was safe.
“This disinfection exercise is good since it is reassuring our personnel here that their lives matter. It will help us to discharge our duties very well as we know we are protected,” DCOP Wemegah said.
Briefing the media after the exercise, Zonal Manager of ZGL, Mr Emmanuel Amemakalor, explained that the exercise would help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
He said in its operations, the company had adopted the world standards for disinfection for the use of five per cent chlorine, stressing that it was thus safe for the facilities to be used almost immediately after disinfection.
Mr Amemakalor urged the public to take seriously the protocols put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.