The Police Visibility Unit is to be revitalised with the recruitment of additional personnel and logistics to make it more viable.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante-Apeatu, told the Daily Graphic that even though the unit was still functioning, it needed to be given a new lease of life to operate effectively.
According to him, the police visibility concept was an international best practice, hence the need for the unit, which is heavy-resource dependent, to be maintained.
Mr Asante-Apeatu expressed concern over some challenges the unit was encountering in its operations, saying: “Many of the department vehicles are broken down, with some of the officers doing more than the agreed four years per the policy.”
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He further explained that the visibility concept was part of a field work exercise for newly trained recruits before they were posted, but that it had suffered a low tempo because of the suspension of recruitment along the line.
The IGP, however, gave an assurance that the unit would be reinvigorated with fresh constables and additional vehicles this year.
Mr Asante-Apeatu said under a transformational agenda by the Police Administration, personnel were now being paired to move into communities on motorbikes to help detect, prevent and deal with crime.
He said more personnel would be deployed into communities when the current batch of recruits passed out, stressing that the trend would no longer be limited to just standing by the roadside but getting closer to the people in their communities and other areas.
Touching on the issue of some police officers waiting for complaints before taking action, the IGP said it was unacceptable for any officer to wait for a complaint to be lodged before initiating action.
“The law is clear; a police officer must act when a crime is being committed in his or her presence. We do not need a complainant in such instances,” he emphasised.
Section 22 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) states that “every person who, knowing that a person designs to commit or is committing a felony, fails to use all reasonable means to prevent the commission or completing thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanour”.
“There are, however, some exceptions to this rule where the police officer will need to apply discretion in order not to escalate the situation by attempting to effect arrest,” the IGP added.
On challenges facing the Ghana Police Service, Mr Asante-Apeatu said there was the need to professionalise police recruitment processes, fund police capacity development programmes and also back the service with a solid logistic base.
“With these provisions, the police will have no excuse but project professionalism and respect for human rights,” he stated.
The IGP further advocated the creation of a Police Ministry to give the police priority in the scheme of things.
He opined that because the Ministry of the Interior had other agencies under its supervision, the police were not getting the needed attention and resources they deserved.