Ranking Member on Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee, James Agalga

Good afternoon dear friends from the inky fraternity. We have called you this afternoon on short notice because the exigencies of the time require us to work together more than ever before to help bring peace and security back to our beloved country. The unpredictability of security related challenges makes calling for urgent pressers a normalcy. Thank you for responding.

It is instructive to note that Ghana is yet to meet the United Nations minimum Police: Population ratio of 1:500. The Police: Population ratio of Ghana still hovers around 1:800. What this means is that the security of about 800 citizens will be in jeopardy when the nation loses a single Police Officer.

The life of every Ghanaian matters including the lives of men and women who swore an oath to provide protection for us. When the protector is killed, what will those who were expected to be protected do? . We cannot continue to witness in pain officers go through preventable deaths. Losing five Police Officers within a week through different causes is quite worrying as the security of 4000 Ghanaians per the ratio is compromised bringing more pressure to bear on the reduced police numbers.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the icing on the cake was the broad day light robbery at James Town in Accra, the capital city of Ghana with the highest number of Police Officers. This particular incident led to the shooting to death of yet another promising young officer No. 58449, G/Constable Emmanuel Osei of National SWAT and one Afua Badu an innocent bystander. We share the pain of the two families. It is sad that the colleagues of late Constable Osei unfortunately are still faced with the reality of high risk operations on daily basis without due diligence from command.

Dear friends, it’s realized that a number of Police Officers have been killed in similar fashion. Officers are supposed to undertake specie duties in bullion vans but the Police authorities have failed to enforce the law to ensure that bullion vans in use meet the legal and Bank of Ghana’s specifications. In simple terms, a bullion van is supposed to be a bullet-proof vehicle that will ensure the safety and security of Escorts as well as the money being carted.

Following the spade of killings of Police Escorts on such duties of late, the Bank of Ghana issued a directive dated 24th December 2020 giving a moratorium up to July 2023 where all make-shift vehicles operating as bullion vans shall be phased out. The criminals seem to want to take undue advantage of such a long moratorium to do the worse before they run out of business on the introduction of standard bullion vans. The death of the police officers on such duties and loss of properties were preventable.

While the Bank of Ghana gave a moratorium ending July 2023, the Inspector-General of Police, through a statement issued by the Director of the Police Public Affairs Department, on the James Town robbery gave the end of June 2021 for the Association of Bankers to either provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting money lest the police withdraws its officers from such escort duties.

The directive of the IGP is in direct contravention to that of the regulator, Bank of Ghana. We are therefore calling on the Inspector-General of Police and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana to reconsider their conflicting positions and work as a team in the interest of national peace and security.

Another sad observation within same Police Statement is the directive by the IGP to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department to take over the investigation of the James Town broad day light robbery. This call is a show of disrespect to discerning public. The DG/CID by the Police rules and regulations is the Chief Criminal Investigator and it is needless for the IGP to be directing him to do his work.

If the IGP thinks the DG/CID is not up to the task, a reshuffle is an option available but to go ahead to remind him to do his job looks like a cut and paste from the directive given to Prof Ken Attafuah of National Identification Authority by the President to ensure a balance in recruitment, a fact that in a working democracy Prof Attafuah does not need to be reminded of.

It is a known fact in policing that there is an inverse relation between morale of officers and crime rate. The continuous attack on police officers and civilians by armed robbers has demoralized the men and women in uniform occasioning violent crime becoming a daily affair from Hamile or Paga through Techiman to Accra.

In modern times, SMART Policing is the new concept many democracies are adopting. SMART Policing promotes citizen-friendliness. We cannot be successful in policing without intelligence and the creation of the Police Intelligence Directorate to serve as an anchor to Police Operations seems not to be hitting the right notes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, four more for Nana has begun with rise in the fear of crime. Ghanaians no longer feel safe compared to our immediate past. Violent crime related cases particularly robbery is shaking the foundation of our nation and it is only fair and a duty for us to call on the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration to up its game.

We do understand that the Ghana Police Service is clotted with many pensioners who are either on contract or extension of service. We agree that giving contracts to officers after they hit the mandatory retirement age of 60 is the prerogative of the president but if government decisions do not produce the results that citizens expect, the peace and security that we so desire, we will become spectators and not citizens if we fail to raise the red flag.

Citizens’ trust for the Police must not be allowed to break. We are calling on the President, Chairman of the National Security Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces to demonstrate leadership to ensure the peace and security of a country that has remained the oasis of peace in a troubled region is not compromised.

Thank you all for coming.