The Ghana Police Service yesterday took bold steps to transform the service into a world-class policing organization, with the launch of a five-year Strategic National Policing Plan in Accra.
The road map policy document, which will cost 1.9 billion dollars to implement, defines the objectives and operational strategies of the service from 210-2014.
The strategic plan, launched by Vice-President John Mahama, underscores the need to focus on democratic policing practices in serving the communities and the people, first, by reviewing the prevailing socio-economic conditions, stakeholders’ expectations, the strengths and weaknesses of the service and where the organization is or fits now.
To meet the required strength of 40,000 personnel, the plan targets recruitment of 16,000 additional personnel by 2014 to complement the current 23,702.
It also envisages, among other things, the provision of 31,000 accommodation facilities, representing 75 per cent of the housing needs, for police personnel by 2014, acquisition of modern information and communication technologies, and the supply of adequate vehicles.
Launching the strategic plan, Vice-President Mahama pledged the government’s assistance to the police administration’s efforts to purge the service of bad nuts undermining its reputation and image.
He, however, commended the police for its recent exhibition of professionalism in fighting crime especially in the face of logistical constraints and asked the public to be considerate when police personnel make “un-intentional mistakes” given that the average police-population ratio internationally was 1:500 as against 1:1200 in Ghana.
That, he said, meant that one Ghanaian police officer who was already disadvantaged in terms of logistics was doing the work of at least two or three better equipped police officers in the advanced countries.
“Owing to these constraints, most of the personnel of the Police Service work a minimum of 12 hours continuously each day throughout the year,” he added, and underlined government’s determination to resource the service to perform.
The Vice-President said work was in progress on a new forensic and ballistic laboratory for the police service, while government was also supporting the setting up of modern DNA and fingerprinting database for the service.
Mr. Mahama, who is the Chairman of the Police Council, expressed the hope that the provisions in the document would be positively translated into practical reality for the benefit of the country.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, said after considerable public education and interaction, people were gradually, but encouragingly, waking up to the fact that provision of security was a collective responsibility of all citizens, with the police and other security agencies as the lead institutions.
He said the financial resources needed for the implementation of the plan was beyond government normal budgetary allocation. The police would, therefore, depend on the benevolence of cooperate organizations and stakeholders to implement the plan.
“We shall unveil each of the project-specific packages that we have designed and conduct a fund raising event to mobilize funds for their implementation,” he said.
Deputy Minister for the Interior, Dr. Kwesi Akyem Appiah Kubi said the plan would guide government to take informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources. He added that performance assessments of the service could be carried out easily using projections in the plan.
Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of the Council of State suggested that the plan should be linked to those of ancillary forces like the prison service to make it more meaningful.
He also stressed the need to address the issue of random release by the courts of criminals if the plan was to be implemented successfully.