A security expert on Tuesday called for a national strategic plan to establish a separate Ministry for the Police Service to effectively deal with security issues and boost investor confidence in the country.
Mr Kofi Lucas, an Executive member of the Planning Committee for the Community Policing Unit (CPU), expressed dissatisfaction that the Ghana Police Service (GPS) was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior.
That made it difficult for the Police Service to obtain the attention and the support it deserved, Mr Lucas said at the Third National Community Policing Stakeholders’ Conference organized by the Service for entrepreneurs in Accra.
It was on the theme: “Making Communities Safer in Partnership with Stakeholders.”
He said the Ministry of the Interior was already inundated with many challenges because it had to cater for loads of services such as the Fire Service, Prisons, National Security and Immigration, adding that made it difficult to deal efficiently and effectively with normal Policing.
Mr Lucas therefore called on Members of Parliament to enact a law to create a Ministry solely for the Ghana Police Service, adding that the move would convince potential investors of the premium the country placed on security.
He said a series of meetings held with representatives of civil society and religious groups indicated monetary commitment towards the establishment of a Ministry for the Police Service.
Mr Lucas said they had received assurance from representatives of the Christian Council, Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches to support the idea.
“They have indeed endorsed the establishment of a Ministry for Police Affairs,” he said.
Mr Kofi Boakye, Assistant Commissioner of Police, expressed worry over the inadequate staff strength of the Police Service saying the ratio a police officer to the population was 1:1,043 as against the United Nations recommended ratio of 1:500.
He said the issue of security and safekeeping was non-negotiable and appealed to the business community to support the service and other security operatives to combat crime.
Mr Boakye said he was worried that many supermarkets, fuel filling stations, pharmacies and restaurants did not operate on a 24-hour basis due to fear of being attacked by criminals.
“The sad trend has a negative implication on the country’s politico-socio-economic development agenda,” he said, adding the situation needed to be drastically reversed.
According to him, the criminal elements may constitute less than two per cent of the population, stressing that with the creation of effective synergies with the Police Service and the communities, criminal activities would be significantly reduced.
Mr Boakye called for collaboration with the citizenry to effectively combat crime.
He said: “Armed robbers are cowards; they don’t deserve our fear. We need to make it difficult for criminals to operate.”
Mr Boakye said police personnel needed to improve public trust and confidence in the Police Service through good behaviour.
He said the police had adopted a paradigm shift from the traditional style of policing to a public-police partnership adding that the method was more friendly, interactive and community-centred.
Mr Boakye lauded the CPU concept and called for support to sustain the programme.
The CPU is a unit of the Ghana Police Service established in 2002 to forge collaboration between the police and the communities to fight crime, provide security and safety of the citizenry.
It aims at encouraging the establishment of a close relationship with civil society to give the police an opportunity to understand and appreciate the security needs and concerns of the communities in which they operate.
CPU’s approach to policing includes combined sensitization, outreach and anti-crime educational talks; formation of neighbourhood watch committees; use of community protection assistants under the National Youth Employment Scheme; and the use of police bicycle patrols.