Ghana Police begins retraining of officers in riot control tactics

The Ghana Police has begun a massive nationwide, across-the-board retraining of its officers in proper handling and management of public order in the country, particularly ahead of the 2016 general election.

The move comes at the back of criticism over its crowd/riot control tactics, which have been described by many as unprofessional and overly, considering that it has on a number of occasions caused injuries to some people

Once every month, officers across the country will be drawn from their comfort zones to be retrained on new techniques in Policing, especially in proper use of force in riot or crowd situations.

Officers would also be equipped with the requisite skills, knowledge and professional approach on public order management, which many security experts have had cause to condemn the police on in the last years.

The first batch of 300 officers from the national Police Headquarters in Accra were on Wednesday taken through training in essential policing ethics and duties. The officers engaged in practical simulation exercise on gradual use of force in quelling crowd.

Commanding Officer of the Formed Police Unit, Chief Superintendent Naa Hamza Yakubu said on TV3 News @ 10 Thursday night that the retraining exercise forms part of the Ghana Police continuous training policy and aims at ensuring that officers are up to the task required of them at all times.

“Public disorder is going to be one of the key components of political activities [in the 2016 electioneering campaign] so we need to make sure that we are prepared to handle the situation as and when they arise, professionally,” he said

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He said although riot control is the basic responsibility of the Rapid Deployment Unit and the Formed Police Unit,  every police officer is supposed to be involved in handling some sort of a situation when the need arises.

“Therefore, it is very important to make sure that they are all conversant with the tactics they are supposed to use…It is said that practice makes perfect[ion], and so it is a continuous process. It will be repeated every month; once every month.

A peaceful protest by pressure group, Let My Vote Count, turned violent last month when members of the group allegedly veered off approved routes, forcing the Police to fire tear gas, rubber bullet and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Several people reportedly injured with one person losing one of his eyes to the brutalities, which has since caused the Police Administration to institute investigations into the acts of the officers.

By:Stephen Kwabena Effah/