Partner at Kaponde & Associates, Justin Pwavra has stated that it is a major misconduct for a Police officer to divulge information to the general public without authorisation.

Speaking on The Law, Sunday, December 12, 2021, the lawyer said doing so is an offence that can attract sanctions such as reduction in rank, dismissal from the service, among others.

“When a policeman divulges information without authorisation, it is a form of professional misconduct,” he said.

The comment was part of legal education on what the Law says about divulging information, especially with regards to displaying faces of crime suspects. This follows a decision by the Ghana Police Service that the identities of suspects will only be displayed when the suspects are properly convicted by a competent court of law.

The Service noted, however, that suspects who are declared wanted by the courts with a warrant of arrest for various offences, shall, where necessary, have their faces and other physical attributes published for purposes of identification, arrest, and prosecution.

Mr. Justin Pwavra clarified that even the internal regulations of the Police Service prohibit officers from engaging the media without authorisation, adding that “the policemen involved can be charged to face administrative disciplinary action.”

“Police work is regulated by the Police Service Instructions. These are administrative rules of procedure that is supposed to guide every policeman every step of the way.”

He cited one of the Police Service instructions that clearly spells out rules for media engagement.

“It’s not as if the policeman is allowed to engage the media and showcase anything they are doing. There are procedures for doing that,” he said, stressing that “they are supposed to engage the media through the Public Affairs Directorate.”

According to him, Section 17(C) of the Police Service Act, 1970 prohibits officers from “divulging a confidential information to a person not authorised to receive it.”

“Persons who violate this, are liable to sanctions such as “dismissal, [i.e termination of appointment with forfeiture of the retirement benefits], removal, [i.e] termination of appointment with or without reduction in retirement benefits, reduction in rank, [i.e removal to another rank with immediate reduction of salary], reduction of salary [i.e an immediate adjustment of salary to a lower point on the salary],” he noted.

Hence, officers are expected to act within the remit of the Law.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.


DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.