Police officers in Ghana have come under scrutiny as many people shared alleged experiences of police harassment under the disguise of performing professional functions.

It is common knowledge that many Ghanaians do not believe the police officers in this country work in good faith and apply laid down rules of engagement.

Criminologist and rights defender, Professor Ken Attafuah, speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, addressed the challenges of dealing with policing on the roads.

He said: “The problem is not with the law, the problem is with the police and with us as citizens. We want to cut corners, we want to evade the law, we want to achieve efficiency sometimes at the expense of safety. The police routinely take advantage, it is not occasional.”

“Quite often, your average police officer is on the street, not only to enforce the law, but also to see what take he or she can get illegally. The public has experienced this all too often, where the police have used the front of the road users offence as an opportunity to line his pocket.”

This therefore increases the level of doubt among the citizens, about the integrity and the professionalism of the police, he said, and in such circumstances, the next time round, the motorist will be prepared to offer that same bribe, because he is aware that if he gives it, he will get away with it.

He added: “We are bad citizens, and we have bad police officers. The only way we are going to be able to deal with it, is for us as citizens and road users to confront the reality that we want to create a society like the one we so much admire. If we do that we deserve a police force that is also respectful of the law.”

Host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, observed that another issue of interest to the public are the number of road criminals that have been convicted.

Some of the main confrontational areas highlighted during the discussions, were that road users fail to acknowledge the rights of other road users, as well as the issue of ignorance, where motorists feel that they can get away with crimes they commit on the road.

D.S.P. Cephas Arthur – acting Police Public Relations Officer said: “The Police Service are putting in a lot to ensure we are able to perform our duties to our countrymen and women. Some of these comments are not very true, for instance the one that says that, ‘they want you to commit the offence so that they will arrest you’. My initial reaction to that, don’t commit the offence then. That is all we want to prevent.”

“We have a few police officers in our field who are not doing what is expected of them, and it is at these police officers that our image cleansing campaign is targeted. The Police Service is a human institution. You might have miscreants scraping through the sieve and getting onto the field of the Ghana Police Service. Members of the public must also appreciate the effort the police administration is making.”

The public has called for measures to be put in place which monitor the actions of the police, to ensure that those in authority do not abuse their positions.

play the attached audio for excerpts of the interview; you can also listen to D.S.P. Cephas Arthur here.

Story by Laurice Laird/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana