The emerging report about police involvement in bullion van attacks in recent times appears shocking to many Ghanaians, considered against the background that we as citizens and nation have employed them to protect us, even at the peril of their lives.
It is equally shocking that in committing crimes such as robbing banks or attacking bullion vans, they can snuff out the lives of innocent citizens, including fellow officers.
That appears to confirm the belief that something is rotten in our police system. We can no longer just say that, like any human institution, the Ghana Police Service has ‘weaknesses’ that need to be tackled.
We, however, have to commend the Police for somewhat solving the riddle about the rampant cases of attacks on banks, bullion vans and citizens identified to have cashed monies from the banks.
Bank robbery or attacks on mobile money operators is a recent phenomenon, if we may admit it. It comes at the back of the recent cases of kidnapping and murders, including the one carried out on a Member of Parliament and a parliamentary candidate in the Central Region.
We may equally say that it is a fruit of our collective breeding of hooligans who find fertile grounds in our new emerging violent political culture to sneak into parties and institutions to wreak havoc on the citizenry.
Thankfully, we have a new police administration that is proving equal to the task in redeeming the first line security agency not only of criminals in our neighbourhoods and on our streets and along our highways, but also ‘enemies within’ who would do anything for money at the expense of their sacred badge.
The report that police officers were involved in the bullion van robberies recorded in the Greater Accra Region recently, therefore, means the police administration is “sleeping with its tails showing”, as they say.
When we set up the Police Intelligence and Investigations Bureau (PIPS), the idea was to monitor performance of police personnel and ensure that their conduct and operations were without questions.
It turned out that before we could put the spotlight on the police and gauge their level of performance, in the eye of the creation of the PIPS, the space had begun suffering invasion from hordes of criminals, some of whom have cross border links.
Beginning of a journey
This is not the time to look at the isolated incidents and technicalities surrounding the operations in which the two policemen were killed, nor is it time to discuss operation strategies of the Ghana Police Service.
Thankfully, the retooling of the Police is ongoing. This should enable them to chase criminals within and without, and also conduct their routine assignments fully equipped.
Indeed, we do not expect that a policeman on duty at a bank, for instance, holds only an AK 47 without a bullet proof vest. Similarly, we do not expect that private security personnel operating in similar environments wear only the uniform, without being armed at all, in radically augmenting the entire security environment.
We believe the current development is the beginning of a fresh journey for the Police, with basic lessons having been learnt – including the peccadilloes of the typical African politician who would want to use a hoodlum to settle personal cases instead of the lawful processes.
Finally, we believe the time has come for private security companies that work with banks and other financial institutions to begin to devise better and biting strategies in terms of intelligence and surveillance, as well as combat, in supporting the Ghana Police Service to deliver on its mandate. This will help in sending strong signals to the marauding thugs and bandits that the game is over.