Ghana gets Tourism Police

A specialized unit within the Ghana Police Service to provide security and safety for tourists at tourism establishments was on Tuesday launched in Accra.

The unit called “Tourism Police,” will have police personnel in mufti stationed at centres patronized by tourists, especially beaches, highways, airports, bus stops, public parks and hotels, lodges, entertainment spots, museums, tourist sites and market places.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Reuben Asiwoko of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), at a press conference to outdoor the unit, said the core functions of the task force would include handling and receiving inquiries, claims and complaints by tourists as well as investigate tourist-related crimes and prosecute offenders.

“The tourism taskforce will ensure that all tourism and tourism related establishments are registered and licensed by the Ghana Tourist Board.”

He said tourism establishments would require documents, including Business Registration, building permits, development permit, police permit, fire certificate, environmental health certificate, site plan and basic building drawings, environmental impact assessment, business plan and insurance certificate.

DSP Asiwoko pointed out that the idea to establish a tourism police had become necessary in view of the fact that Ghana’s tourism was growing at a very fast rate and the challenge of insecurity had become clearly imperative.

He therefore advised owners of tourism establishments to display valid licenses at the first point of call on their premises since the task force would close down establishments which had not displayed valid licences.

DSP Asiwoko said late last year a delegation made up of members of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana, the Tourism Safety and Security Initiative, an NGO, and the Ghana Police Service toured Egypt to study their tourism policing system.

He said: “Tourism is assuming greater importance and therefore safety and security dimensions are very important and will not be compromised.”

Safety and security issues, he said, were tied to a destination’s image, he said, and called for wider consumer awareness to ensure that the country had a positive image.

Mr Edwin Owusu Mensah, Deputy Executive Director of the Ghana Tourist Board, said Ghana had not dealt with security issues with regard to tourism in an organized manner.

He therefore lauded the establishment of the Tourism Police and expressed the hope that it would help to ensure good safety practices.

Source: GNA

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