• Dr George Akuffo Dampare —Inspector General of Police
• Dr George Akuffo Dampare —Inspector General of Police

We won’t rush to take action "Police on political violence, incendiary comments"

The Ghana Police Service has set up a dedicated legal team to subject all politically related incidents to legal scrutiny to establish whether there are elements of crime or otherwise before any action is taken. 

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Consequently,  it said the service would not intervene in any situation where there was no criminality involved.

A statement to that effect was released yesterday by the police administration after the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare,  met with the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over recent happenings on the political front.

“This is a paradigm shift from the practice in the past where people were arrested in the heat of the moment for politically related incidents as a result of attempts by politicians on either side to whip up public sentiments against the police thereby creating the impression that the police supports one side against the other.

“ In such instances when no concrete charges can be levelled against such people, they are eventually released thereby creating the impression in the public domain as though the police were manipulated in effecting their arrests,” the statement said.

It added: “This initiative has been used to analyse all recent cases such as comments made by the Minister of Food and Agriculture and the Constituency Youth Organiser for the NDC at Suame, among others”.

The meeting, which was called at the instance of the IGP, was necessitated by press statements issued by both parties and subsequently followed by petitions to the police service to arrest certain individuals on either side of the political spectrum for some alleged offences.

The NDC petitioned the police service to arrest the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abetifi and Minister of Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, for allegedly claiming that the NPP would never hand over power to the NDC.

On the other hand, the NPP, following the NDC’s petition, followed up with a similar petition calling on the police to arrest former President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC National Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, over some alleged inflammatory comments they had made in the past. 

Updates

 The police said they provided an update on the status of political violence and related incidents recorded during the recent internal elections of both parties.

These included the arrest and prosecution of some 14 members of the NPP for disturbances during their constituency election at Enchi and the arrest of nine out of the 16 wanted individuals for disturbances at the national youth and women organiser polls of the NDC in Cape Coast.

“An update was also provided on the status of the 2020 general election-related cases, including Techiman South and Odododiodio constituencies and the public will be duly updated on these cases in the course of the week,” the statement said.

Strategic intervention

Again, the police service said it had established a Police Election Security Secretariat to work with all political parties and other stakeholders to enhance the management of security for all elections in the country.

“This is a complete departure from the old order where an election security task force was put together just some months before the general election.

Since its creation over a year ago, the Police Election Security Secretariat has worked with the various political parties in their respective internal elections from the polling station, through the constituency to the national executive elections,” it stated.

It added that the secretariat was currently working with both parties on their parliamentary and presidential primaries.

Support police

The police statement further indicated that at the meeting, both parties were informed that with the new policing interventions in place, “they should do their politics and allow the police to do their policing.”

“ We, therefore, called on them to support us, including by criticising us constructively to do a professional job in line with our constitutional mandate”.

While commending the leadership of the two political parties for availing themselves and contributing to the success of the meeting, the police service called on Ghanaians to help the service in their effort to build an independent police service which would serve the greater good of the people and not the interest of any individual or group of people.

“Once again, we wish to assure the public that we remain committed to ensuring peace, security, law and order in the country at all times including before, during and after all elections in the country,” the statement said.

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