Dean of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Law School, Professor Kofi Abotsi, says the Ghana Police Service suffers from a historical trust deficit.

“There is a deficit of trust with both parties [NDC and NPP] in government are blamable for and usually when they are in opposition, they see the problem magnified, when they are in government, they do the same thing,” he told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Newsfile, Saturday.

“For a lot of the difficulties we have now, there is some reality we are all not talking about now, and that reality is a historical one. The Police suffer from a historical deficit of trust,” he said.

He explained that there is a deficit of trust in “terms of the institutional manipulation of police” when carrying out an arrest.

This, he said, has led to undermining of the police power of arrest with the thought that “anytime the police makes a move particularly against another organ there is the perception that the Executive is behind it.”

Mr Abotsi said, if there is trust in the institutional autonomy of the Police when they exercise the power of arrest, there would be no problem.

“In the UK, where we seem to have copied this, the immunity of our members of Parliament is very limited. Limited in the sense that an MP can be arrested anytime for mainstream criminal offences. The immunity is restricted to breaches of the State Security Act, slanderous offences, defamation in Parliament and contempt of Court.

“Where the person is guilty of contempt of court and slanderous offences…but in those instances the MP has immunity, but otherwise for the commission of regular offences there is no immunity,” he cited a case in the United Kingdom.

The Madina MP, Francis-Xavier Sosu, led his constituents to embark on a protest due to the deplorable nature of the road network in the constituency.

During the protest, the Police attempted to arrest the MP, but he was whisked away. Before that, the MP challenged the arrest arguing that he had a parliamentary call to attend and could not be apprehended until the Speaker of Parliament is contacted.

He later filed a complaint of contempt of Parliament against two police officers; ACP Isaac Kojo Asante, Regional Operations Commander and ACP Eric Winful, the Adenta/Abokobi Divisional Commander of Police, to the Speaker of Parliament to take action with respect to Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

The Ghana Police Service, therefore, wrote to Parliament for Mr Sosu to be released for interrogation.

However, in a letter dated October 28, Parliament stated its inability to release the MP to assist in investigations as requested.

In this regard, Mr Abotsi noted that the powers of the Police to arrest is expansive power that cannot be constricted ordinarily.

He added that the only way in which the power can be constricted are clearly itemised.

“The purpose for the itemisation is to ensure we do not have a limitless immunity availing anyone. Therefore, whenever anybody claims an immunity, the person must establish it contextually in the constitution,” he said.

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