The Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) has petitioned President Akufo-Addo to defer decision by the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery to withdraw 200 police officers from the communities and highways of the country to provide protection services for Members of Parliament.
In a letter signed by the Group’s Executive Director, Nana Yaw Akwada the decision could result in an enormous deficit in the country’s security force, thereby, increasing crime rate in the country.
According to him, Ghana’s Police-to-Civilian ratio stands at an average of 1:850, which is far below the United Nation’s standard of 1:450/1:500, hence, the President should reconsider his appointee’s decision, particularly, in this election year.
“The Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) is deeply concerned about the safety and security consequences this withdrawal would have on the general security of the population; as we envisage a significant deficit in Police-to-Civilian ratio in the short to medium term.
“Policing services generally have not been satisfactory as their [Police] response to distress calls, traffic control, criminal investigations, and highway patrol services have not been as responsive as it ought to be. Thus, withdrawing 200 men from the communities and highways at this critical time when they should not only be visible but very responsive, would further worsen policing and policing services across the country,” Mr Akwada explained.
He then added, “The BPS in principle is not opposed to the protection of VIPs, for that matter MPs but we are worried about the immediate security deficit that this decision creates and the dire public safety consequences it is certain to have on the general population in the short to medium term.”
Highlighting some five key points, including;
1. That event leading to the killing of the Honorable Member of Parliament for Mfatseman Constituency was a consequence of the lack of effective security endured by ordinary citizens endure on daily basis in our country. Indeed, the Bureau has on record between September 9th and October 9, 2020, eight similar incidents that occurred in other parts of the country where ordinary persons lost their lives and livelihoods, before the event involving the honorable MP.
2. That violent crime has been on the rise in the last 18 months with murder /manslaughter cases being the most reported cases .
3. That murder/manslaughter and armed robbery cases within the country has increased from 19% to 30% and 9% to 11% respectively of all public safety and crime cases
4. That the preferred weapon/weapon of choice for perpetrators of violent crime in recent times are guns. The use of guns in the commission of crime has thus increased by 21%.
5. That 73.5% of all murder/manslaughter cases occurred while people were in transit.
Based on these facts, the Executive Director insisted that the decision to protect only Parliamentarians will worsen security conditions in Ghana.
“Mr. President our call is hinged on the fact that the State has a responsibility to maintain law and order, peace, and security within its territory to cover all of its citizens. Under Article 35 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, it states inter alia that “The State…shall seek the well-being of all her citizens”, not a few or some of her citizens,” he wrote.
Following the killing of the Mfantseman MP, Ekow Quansah Hayford on Friday, October 9, Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery announced that as part of measures to counter the growing cases of attacks on public officials in the country, 200 police officers will be deployed to serve as personal bodyguards to all Parliamentarians to ensure their protection.
Although the decision has met various criticisms, Parliamentarians including Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu and Deputy Defense Minister, Major (Rtd) Derrick Oduro defended the decision that it would not affect police operations in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Akwada demanded the President ask the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to revive the Police Visibility and Community Policing program to handle the crime issues.
He also appealed for government to provide adequate budgetary and logistical resources for the service to operate and maintain service equipment.
Adding that President Akufo-Addo should ensure the disbandment of all identified vigilante groups immediately in compliance with the Vigilantism and Other Related Offenses Act, 2019 (Act 999).
“Mr. President, we trust that your good Office would intervene in the greater public interest.”