One significant factor which spared last Wednesday’s organised labour’s countrywide demonstration was the characteristic clashes between protesters and the police.
Superior police officers appear to have resolved to obviate the embarrassment which comes with the brawny approach to policing on such operations.
These commanders had without doubt learnt the lessons from previous demonstrations which went sour and bloody, putting the law enforcement agency on the spot.
Indeed, we are constrained to return to this subject following a policing novelty in the Eastern Regional capital when the region’s chapter of organised labour took its turn to demonstrate against the killer taxes and the matters arising thereof.
As contained in a story in this edition, the Eastern Regional Police Commander, obsessed with preventing any untoward developments, demanded civility from his officers and men on one hand and the labour front on the other.
For the first time in the history of demonstrations, a Police Band was in attendance following the obliging of a request by the Police Headquarters in that direction by the workers.
The demonstration was denied the bellicosity associated with protests and made policing rather easy for the law enforcement officers.
The US military in the heady moments of the Vietnam war adopted the strategy of winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese in order to subdue the Communist Viet Congs.
The same module has been used in other theatres of war as in Afghanistan and Iraq with remarkable results to a certain extent.
Policing should depart from the colonial day system when escort policemen were sent to go and mete out physical assaults on the “natives.” The brawny approach to policing should give way to the newfound method tried in Koforidua and Accra.
We have, however, observed a misinterpretation of the foregone with some seeking to give the action a certain coloration following for example, the mishandling of the subject by a section of the media.
Police Officers should be given the leverage to do their work without apprehension of politicians at the helm breathing down their shoulders with threats of transfers.
If there is one institution which should be allowed to grow, it is the Police Service: such growth would ensure that the enforcement of the law is done efficiently.
Have we ever bothered to find out why the British cop is able to enforce the law regardless of whose ox is gored?
These cops are immune from the arbitrariness of the politicians whose party is in power and this is what we must strive to do.
Regional Commanders, as the ultimate decision takers in their areas of jurisdiction, would be held responsible for any breaches. When they successfully unfurl novelties which yield positive results, they should be commended and not vilified.
Perhaps gone are the days when demonstrations were eclipsed by law enforcement agents and protesters engaging in avoidable fisticuffs and sometimes drawing blood. Let us sustain the novelty.