"Useless" recruitment variables give "criminals" access to Police Service – Attafuah

General News of Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Prof Ken Attafuah

There are “useless” considerations which influence the recruitment process of the Ghana Police Service, a situation that opens the door for criminals to infiltrate the Service, Criminologist Prof Ken Attafuah has told Morning Starr’s Kafui Dey in an interview.

The human rights lawyer’s comment come on the back of the Police Service’s recent interdiction of one of its top Officers, COP Patrick Timbillah, Director General of Human Resource Development for his alleged involvement in a recruitment scam, which is being investigated.

Diagnosing some of the reasons influencing such scams and the attendant consequence of opening the door for criminals to enter into the Police Service, Prof Attafuah, who is the acting dean of the law faculty of the Central University College (CUC) said: “There’s something wrong with recruitment procedures generally when extra-legal variables, where improper considerations are taken into account, contrary to constitutional provisions, where ethnicity, race, colour, ancestry, all of those useless variables, are taken into account, the favouritism and all of that.”

“Number two, where the normal protocols that should insulate institutions from criminals getting in are not observed so that you don’t do adequate scrutiny or screening of prospective applicants [and] prospective recruits, where you overlook them, as they do sometimes; where you take money in order to enlist people, then you are not going to probe their background,” he pointed out.

In the view of the former director of operations and chief investigator of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), criminals are able to enter the Police Service because the country lacks the capacity to stop it from happening.

“Then you go to the question: ‘How competent are we as a country to sufficiently police and prevent people with criminal backgrounds from coming in?” he asked.

According to the author of ‘Armed robbery in Ghana,’ the country’s less developed identification system also frustrates the ability of the Police to sieve out criminals and prevent them from entering the Service.

“Until fairly recently, this country didn’t have anything near a reliable crime data bank and we don’t have a reliable national identification system at the moment and so fingerprinting, the whole Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is not well established in this country so technology does have a role but we have not advanced to the stage where we are using it so that if you have a criminal whose fingerprints and AFI system have all been taken and locked into the police databank in Accra and he shows up at Wa, or shows up at the Airport and he is apprehended, just a swipe of the fingerprint will indicate to the prison officer that this is a wanted person or this is a person with a history–we don’t have that–and even if that were to happen, what is the probability that that officer will not simply take a bribe and let this criminal go as sometimes occurs; so it dovetails into the question of integrity, which is, of course the motto of the Police Service, ‘service with integrity.’”