Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) David Eklu, Ashaiman Divisional Police Commander in the Greater Accra Region, at the weekend lauded the Right to Information (RTI) Bill as a vital operational tool for effective policing.
“As a Police Officer, I believe that correct, accurate, adequate and timely access to information is a vital operational tool for effective policing, “he stressed in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
CSP Eklu noted that Information should be a shared activity between the user and the agency releasing the information.
He said although the Bill takes cognisance and places restriction on the release of information bordering on law enforcement and national security, the hidden danger is the tendency of some law enforcement officers to overstretch this caveat to the detriment of public interest.
He observed that another challenge from the law enforcement perspective is that the law does not place a corresponding obligation on the public to provide the police with the needed information for crime prevention and combat.
CSP Eklu said whilst the country awaits the passage of the RTI Bill into law, it would be prudent for civil society and other advocates of the legislation to encourage public organisations to begin formulating sound policies on information management as a condition for good governance practices.
The RTI Bill is an Act to provide for the implementation of the constitutional right to information held by a government agency.
The information is subject to the exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of the public interest in a democratic society, to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.
It is a Bill designed to give the Ghanaian public the right to access official information and enforces the fundamental human right of the Right to Information, a right given in Article (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The information consists of any data or facts, regardless of its form, be it printed document, a computer record, an audio recording, or any other format.
It will give Ghanaian citizens the right to request for information, which is held by a government agency. This however subject to exemptions set out in the Bill.
It will also mean that Government agencies have to disclose such information to the public even in the absence of any formal requests from the public.
The Right to Information gives Ghanaians citizens the right to access information from the Government. This will allow the public to know what is taking place in public offices, and the ability to observe policies, decisions and the conduct of civil servants.
Activists of the RTI Bill in Ghana include the Coalition on the Right to Information, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition.