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No holiday for the police during Christmas

BY: Mary Mensah & Emelia Ennin Abbey
Mr James Oppong-Buanuh — IGP (arrowed)
Mr James Oppong-Buanuh — IGP (arrowed)

All police officers across the country will be on duty during the Christmas festivities to maintain law and order, as well as protect lives and properties.

In line with this, all police officers, whether in uniform or plain clothes, will report for duty to ensure the safety and security of the citizenry during the Christmas and the New Year festivities.

Already, police personnel who were deployed to ensure general security before, during and after the December 7, 2020, general election have not been recalled but placed on high alert to provide security at all times.

Operational strategies

Sharing the deployment strategy of the Ghana Police Service during the Yuletide with the Daily Graphic, the Director of the Police Public Affairs Directorate, Superintendent Mrs Sheilla Kessie Abayie-Buckman, said the annual leave of police personnel was suspended prior to election duties, adding that that was still in force to ensure that all personnel were on board to take care of security matters, including security for the festive period and beyond.

Supt Abayie-Buckman explained that the officers were already on the ground, “so this year’s Operation Father Christmas was not launched”.

She said the police had made public safety a top priority and would go all out to ensure that people felt safe as they went about their legitimate businesses during the festive season.

“Christmas is a festive season which affords families the opportunity to spend time together. For police officers, the festive season also means that we spend more time at work for the safety of all people.

“The police work day and night in fulfilment of our calling. Our mandate is to prevent crime and maintain law and order,” she said.

Strategies

Mrs Abayie-Buckman said the Police Administration would bring all its resources on board to ensure that the festive season was not marred by any untoward activity.

She said a number of operational strategies had been put in place to protect lives and properties, effectively manage traffic, as well as maintain law and order.

“All police personnel will be working. We have a large presence of police in uniform and plainclothes patrolling various places ” she said.

Mrs Abayie-Buckman said the police would focus on enforcing road safety, deploying personnel to commercial centres and other public places, as well as monitoring state assets.

“There will be police physical presence in all places to deter criminals. We are using foot and mobile patrols day and night,” she said.

The police public affairs director said the strategies would guarantee the safety and security of the citizenry before, during and after the festivities, while providing security for post-election issues.

Supt Abayie-Buckman indicated that the Christmas period was usually characterised by the mass movement of people, increase in economic activities, a number of religious gatherings and an array of social events.

Heavy vehicular traffic

Those often led to heavy vehicular traffic in some areas, human traffic in others, road crashes, other road violations, among others, she said.

“Criminals may also want to operate; that is, theft/robbery, assault, public nuisance and other fraudulent activities. All these tend to have a negative impact on the celebrations, which have dire consequences on lives and properties,” she said.

The police public affairs director indicated that measures put in place would ensure the safety and security of premises, communities, marketplaces, commercial centres, beaches, streets, churches, recreational centres, highways, hospitals, among others.

Interventions

“Police interventions are effective when the police receive the needed support from the public, bearing in mind that effective crime prevention and detection are anchored on a shared responsibility between the police and the public they serve. In this collective effort, the public is urged to provide reliable information for the police,” she said.

“While the police, with the support of the other security agencies, strive to guarantee the safety and security of everyone, it is important to note that personal security is the responsibility of every individual.

“Individuals are to be alert and conscious of happenings in their environment and neighbourhood. Neighbours must be one another's keeper and report every suspicious criminal activity to the police for prompt action,” Supt Abayie-Buckman advised.

Prohibition of explosives

The manufacture, possession or carriage of any explosives known as display shells, artillery shells and ball and canister shells, some of which belonged to the category popularly known “knockout", were prohibited by law, she said.

Supt Abayie-Buckman said those explosives could hurt others and maim them for life and, therefore, reminded the public to avoid them this season.

Drivers and riders

She called on drivers, riders and all road users to respect road traffic laws and ensure utmost caution at all times to prevent any crashes and unwanted carnage.

“Drivers and riders should avoid drink-driving and speeding beyond limits. All should fully cooperate with the police to ensure safety on our roads and highways,” she stated.

Passengers travelling to various destinations, Supt Abayie-Buckman said, should avoid putting pressure on drivers to speed in order to get to their destinations early.

Police toll-free

Police toll-free numbers: 18555, 191 and 112 can be reached in case of emergency.

National Police Compliant Desk numbers 0550323323 and 0275000156 on Voice Calls and Short Message Service (SMS) are also available, as well as the WhatsApp number 0206639121 for videos and pictures.