The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, is to train 3,000 police personnel across the country on child friendly policing.
This is aimed at increasing children's access to justice through improved and sustainable police practices.
It is also to strengthen the capacity of the personnel in the protection of children who come into contact with the law either as victims, witnesses or in conflict with the law.
About 100 police personnel from the Accra Region are benefitting from the programme which started in Accra last Monday.
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The Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, said although, the Children and Juvenile Justice Act mandates the police to defend, protect and enforce the rights of children, the police were challenged as a result of the lack of a subsidiary legislation and a comprehensive operational procedure to guide them.
He explained that it was to cater for such children and other vulnerable persons that the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) and the Anti Human Trafficking Unit were established to protect and safeguard the rights of children.
“It is our duty as police officers to detect and prevent all forms of abuse against children. There is the need for collaboration with other stakeholders to provide a safe haven for the vulnerable, especially persons with disability,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh added.
A representative of UNICEF, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, said it was important to listen to children, understand them and treat them appropriately with dignity and compassion.
She said protecting children’s rights includes the acquisition of specific skills.
Ms Dufay mentioned acquisition of appropriate interviewing techniques, child-friendly investigation practices and a sound understanding of how to work with social welfare and its auxiliary sectors as soe of the skills.
She commended the police for incorporating child-friendly policies into its promotion examinations.
The training programme was introduced in 2004 and it is expected to end in 2020. It is being supported by the Canadian government.