The determination of the Police Administration in weeding out miscreants from the ranks of the law enforcement agency has been adequately tested in the past year or so.
Such bad nuts have been isolated and dealt with in the courts of law. And the Police Administration had denied any cover whatsoever. In spite of such efforts, it is regrettable that the number of such miscreants is far from being sufficiently reduced.
It is worrying when those entrusted with the protection of the citizenry and enforcement of the law turn out paradoxically to be the villains robbing innocent citizens sometimes with service firearms.
The statistics is not at our disposal but it would appear that in recent times many more Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) in the police have been arrested over armed robbery than before.
Snippets of information are popping up about the arrest of a policeman and a soldier over alleged criminality – a case which is said to have been transferred to the Police Headquarters for the appropriate attention.
This comes at the heels of two similar instances whose investigations are not exhausted. The Upper East Regional Police Command is currently holding two policemen over an alleged attempt at committing an act of criminality. In Accra a policeman was arrested after robbing a cabbie. As fate would have it, his ATM card which he lost at the crime scene, exposed him eventually.
The importance of an image bereft of blemish for the police is a critical ingredient for winning public confidence for the law enforcement agency. The Police Administration must therefore be supported by all and sundry to achieve this goal of ridding the law enforcement agency of miscreants who only enlisted in the Service with the sole purpose of robbing to make money. For such crooks the “Service With Integrity” does not mean a hoot.
The Police Administration alone cannot shoulder this responsibility without public support. We have pointed out time without number that the authorities at the helm of the Administration must unearth an effective means of encouraging members of the public to come to them with vital information about miscreants who would stop at nothing to make ill-gotten wealth.
The role of the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards (PIPS) Unit must not be overlooked in this direction. Education about what the unit stands for and the provision of the necessary logistics to enable it function properly should be of utmost concern to the Police Administration.
We wonder whether the regions have branches of the unit: if that is not the case, then efforts must be made to decentralise it so that members of the public who have complaints to make at such levels can make the necessary moves.
The Administration must find a way of debunking the notion that law enforcement officers will do everything to protect their kind. With the examples of the arrests and prosecution of the criminals in uniform, the Administration can put up a good defence to debunk such a notion.
Keeping such cases under the carpet won’t help the cause of effective policing: those arrested must be exposed and dealt with according to law.
Perhaps the Administration must consider doing background checks on recruits before they pass out.