We have been compelled to take on the Police Service, following certain negative developments that have gradually crept into their operations. We wish to point it out that the
aim of this editorial is not to attack the police and allied security agencies, but to offer constructive criticism that will rid this country of criminal activities, which are on the ascendency.
Criminals, including illegal arms dealers and armed robbers, are found in every society, including the developed countries, but whether their activities can be curtailed or not, depends largely on the active surveillance efforts of the police.
We concede that the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, and his able lieutenants, are doing their best to ensure public peace and safety in the country.
The police have, in most instances, pursued armed robbers, sometimes at the peril of their lives, and we commend them for it. The vigilance of the police service has contributed largely to the reduction of crime in the country, and the citizens are grateful for that.
The Chronicle, however, thinks that in the anxiety of the police to make public, some of the arrests they make, sometimes exposes some fundamental mistakes that we normally do not find with their colleagues in the advanced countries.
In these developed countries, the police fight criminal activities such as gun-running, drug trade, and armed robbery among many others, by destroying infrastructure the criminals have put on the ground to facilitate their activities.
After the September 11 attack on the US, which led to the death of several innocent people, the Bush administration decided to launch an attack on the Al Qaeda, which was reportedly named as being behind the attacks, in far away Middle East to destroy their network?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) did not just stay in America to arrest potential bombers who may try to attack again, but rather went to the source of the attack to dismantle the cells and infrastructure they had put in place.
We have decided to draw this analogy, because of the recent announcement by the police that they had intercepted a cache of ammunition bound for Bunkpurugu in the Northern Region.
This story was carried by several newspapers, with the police being the source. Readers will agree that despite several arrests being made about the smuggling of arms to the conflict areas in the north, the illegal trade has still not stopped, because the police have failed to get to the source, or big fishes behind this ammunition trade.
All we have seen are the arrests of the drivers and mates carting the illegal ammunitions, who the ring leaders behind the operations can always recruit new people to replace.
The Chronicle thinks that the police, instead of immediately arresting these drivers and mates, who they eagerly display on our television screens, can do better by sometimes doing undercover operations, and gathering intelligence over a long period, by allowing the illegal arms to get to their destination, where they can get detectives to trail the vehicle, the driver and his mate, which can lead them to those behind the trade.
If they had done this, they would have detected where the weapons would have been offloaded, and those who would come and take possession of them. The idea is to get to the source of the illegal operation, or those who are actually behind the weapons trade, and pounce on them.
The FBI was able to arrest the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkoranza North in the Brong Ahafo region, Mr. Eric Amoateng, and all his cohorts, for importing heroin into US, because they took their time to monitor his movements, and gather enough intelligence, before they finally nailed him.
They did not rush to arrest Amoateng from the beginning, when they had evidence that he was involved in the drug trade.
In the Bunkpurugu case, the police claim some top politicians were behind the illegal arms transportation to the north, but unfortunately, they have failed to provide names, because they do not have the evidence to prove their case.
The Chronicle, however, thinks this would not have been a problem if they had taken their time to trail the vehicle carrying the illegal weapons, done thorough investigations, and maybe would have succeeded in roping in the so-called politicians they claim are involved.
As we noted in this column some weeks ago, criminals are experts in their own fields, and therefore the police must be a step ahead of them, if they are to check their activities.
The Chronicle insists that the smuggling of arms to the conflict zones in the north would never cease, until the police are able to dismantle and destroy the operational network that these criminals have put in place, and that can only be done through intelligence gathering and taking time to trail such people, instead of rushing to make arrests and gloating in the limelight of publicity.