Mr. Speaker, before I make any comments in supporting the Statement just made, I would like to draw attention to the fact that we have made many Statements on the police in this Chamber and one begins to wonder to what extent we can continue to make these Statements and not realize the objective of the Statements made.
Mr. Speaker, I want somebody to
show me a country where development and discipline exist without any serious development or management of the Police Service. Mr. Speaker, the presence of the policeman evokes a lot of fear and conforming behaviour in many areas and in many countries. But Mr. Speaker, the trend existing in this country has a tendency to create a very serious situation, which if we do not take care, we cannot reverse.
Mr. Speaker, the police are very critical elements of our society and issues about road accidents, corruption, indiscipline and so forth cannot be tackled properly if we do not make the development and management of our police a priority. Mr. Speaker, the police work under very difficult conditions and the hon. Member just enumerated a few.
I happened to be at a police station where three policemen live and sleep in a kitchen. Mr. Speaker, if you visit many of the barracks in which we house our policemen, you will be sad. My father happened to be a policeman and I know the conditions under which the police work. The policeman of the 1960s and 1970s has not changed much; he is still the same
type of policeman we still encourage in this country.
Mr. Speaker, we always go in for loans and we make available things like cars, guns and armoured vehicles to the police but nobody ever cares to think about what the policeman should eat before he goes in to drive those vehicles. We expect the policeman to use his body as cannon fodder when the armed robber appears in an area. Even in instances where the policeman is the only individual and probably the armed robbers number about ten or fifteen, we easily call the policeman and expect him to, as an abnormal and very unique human being, to go and stop the armed robbers from disturbing society. But nobody ever cares to think of what sort of man that policeman is.
It is unfortunate that in the Twenty- First Century, at a time when everybody is beginning to develop and we are in the computer age, we still think that the policeman should still work as if he was living in the ages when crime was very, very little in society.
Mr. Speaker, I think that if we want the Ghana Police Service to be a proper police service, there is the need for us to give them the priority they deserve; their pay, their barracks, their training and their appearance in society should be one that should evoke discipline and respect. In some countries, policemen are used to stop corruption and in many countries the policeman is the man who ensures that nobody breaks the traffic law. But in this country, a policeman walks by and nobody cares. It is as if he is just an ordinary person walking by the would-be crime committer.
Mr. Speaker, unless we begin to tackle the issue of the police, we will continue to make these Statements, there will be
responses from the Ministry, and yet we would not achieve any results in our society. The future of this country is inextricably linked with the development and proper management of the Ghana Police Service, and unless something is done about it, these Statements, numerous as they come, as essential as they may be, will not stop crime, corruption and road accidents in this country.
Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (retd) (NPP - Berekum): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Mr. Speaker, in fact, I was touched when the hon. Member for Hohoe South was enumerating the problems that affect the Ghana Police Service. It is tragic and ironical because Ghanaian policemen who are operating in the international theatre are considered some of the best professionals available. If you go to Darfur Region right now, Ghanaian police officers are giving the best of services that they can render, and they are carrying our national flag very high.
Unfortunately, when we come home the problems that are associated with the police -- the accusations and the name- calling -- one begins to wonder whether we have two different types of policemen -- those who are correct and excellent serving outside and then, apparently, those who are not correct here. But Mr. Speaker, the reality on the ground is what has invariably been stated by my friend, the hon. Member for Chiana/Paga (Mr. Abuga Pele).
Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of going to Bawku to visit the Bawku police station and I was amazed to see the barracks that were built before independence and up till now - through all the governments till
now - no single attempt has been made to renovate the police station.
Mr. Speaker, I was in Aflao to see the police station. Mr. Speaker, it is a serious indictment on the administration of this country. Mr. Speaker, as hon. Abuga Pele rightly pointed out, when you see the places where our policemen sleep at night - it is an eyesore.
Mr. Speaker, Techiman is a big municipality; it is a town with a population of over 80,000 people. Unfortunately, Techiman township, the police there, majority of them live in rented quarters, such that when there is an emergency in Techiman, it would take more that three hours to mobilize even just ten policemen to render service. And so the biggest problem of accommodation - barracks for our policemen - has to be addressed almost immediately.
Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, there is the issue of logistics, because the policeman is basically a human being; you put the uniform on him and then he is a policeman. But that alone, the uniform alone, cannot perform any service; he needs all the gadgets that are necessary to enable him to enforce law and order.
But Mr. Speaker, what disturbs me is that, it looks as if all these years, from independence to now, successive governments have always looked at the police as people who must obey, who must perform services no matter the circumstances, no matter the en- vironment; and this is the reason why our policemen are always caught in the middle of a crossfire.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend mentioned in-service training, which is another area that needs to be looked at seriously. A policeman passes out of Depot and he is