Since the return to democracy in 1992, crime has risen steadily, with the Ghanaian Police Service seemingly unable to respond effectively. In some cases, police incompetence, misconduct and corruption have fuelled, rather than reduce crime and violence. Few institutions have a
greater impact on the daily lives of citizens than law enforcement yet, relations between the Ghana Police Service and citizens continue to be characterized by suspicion and mutual hostility. Generally, the good men and women of the Ghana Police Service do a very good job considering the enormous challenges they face on a daily basis. I salute them on the troubles they go through in protecting lives and property throughout the four corners of Ghana. That notwithstanding, the Ghana Police Service as an institution, needs urgent reforms to shape the institution into a 21st century institution capable to fighting crime within the four corners of Ghana. Reform of the Ghanaian policing system is clearly badly needed and yet, policies have remained timid, incongruous and insincere in this area. Currently, the Ghana Police Service is engulfed with many problems on several fronts and is fast losing credibility even if it has not lost it already. Public trust in the Ghana Police Service is at its lowest ebb since the establishment of the Ghana Police Service. It is sad to say that, corruption is very rife in the Ghana Police Service. Within the police service, there is internal corruption where contracts are inflated, contracts awarded are under-implemented, funds allocated to specific police welfare programs disappear into private accounts of top level officers. There are also cases of evidence tampering, disappearance of crime exhibits, substitution of criminals with innocent persons and I dare say, planting of evidence. At various times in the history of the Ghana Police Service, attempts have been made to reform the police with no success. The attempts have been at best half-hearted and not thorough. The focus of changing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is not the solution. This is like a
man who had headache and the recommended treatment was for him to get a new hair cut and wear a new hat. In all cases where the IGP is changed, he is replaced with another IGP who has risen through the ranks, went through the same training, totally acculturated in the norms and practices in the Ghana Police Service. With all due respect, I have heard it said that, a thief knows how to catch another thief but, I have never heard it said that, a thief can reform another thief better.
It may surprise many that, the current top brass of the Ghana Police Service do not have job specifications. Without a job specification, how does the officer know his roles and responsibilities, how can he be set targets, how can his performance be reviewed, how can he know whether he is performing satisfactorily, what yard stick will he be judged on for promotion, if he fails in his job what criteria will be used to measure his failure since there is no job specification? No matter how scary this scenario may be, unfortunately, that is the reality I am afraid. I lay the blame squarely at the door steps of thPolice Council, defence committee of Parliament and the Ministry of Interior for failing to ensure that, the top brass of the Ghana Police Service had job specifications. The problems of the Ghana Police Service as enumerated by successive IGPs and other observers include among others shortage of manpower, poor salary and benefits, use of outdated weapons, lack of adequate and modern telecommunication equipment, lack of vehicles, shortage of funds for operation, poor
training, ill-oriented, ill-motivated, corruption among the rank and file, poor accommodation, political interference and poor recruitment practices. I am comfortable in saying that, most if not all the issues listed are human resources management problems, others are
administrative while a few are operational. In other words, it is conceivable to conclude that, these problems and challenges bedevilling the Ghana Police Service can be addressed by any
individual that is equipped with the education, experience and intelligence of a committed manager of men and material resources.
Internal and external accountability is weak, ineffective or non-existent. Citizens contact with the police are almost entirely involuntary, restricted to law enforcement encounters. In the midst of all this, violent crimes such as armed robbery are on the rise across the country. The Ghana Police Service may be corrupt but then, the Ghanaian society is also corrupt. The men and women of the Ghana Police Service are products of a corrupt society and system, so it follows that, they will also be corrupt. This is of course not an
excuse for them but, that is the fact. They have families; they have to survive in the harsh conditions of Ghana just like other Ghanaians. They have to make do and the only way they know is “if you cannot beat them, you join them”. They see politicians and other civil
servants living beyond their means, probably embezzling money in the billions, sharing out perks and contracts between them, and they have to resort to barrier blocks exhortations mainly on commercial drivers etc. The men and women in the lower ranks of the Ghana Police Service sees their bosses living well beyond their salaries so naturally, they have to survive too on the highways. There have been many instances of uncommon bravery and honesty on the part of men and women of the Ghana Police Service. Some courageous policemen have died while battling