A criminologist at the Institute of Criminology at the Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, Dr Justice Tankebe, has admonished government to rescind from describing the police as ‘crime fighters’ but must rather be described and encouraged as protectors of public and human rights in the country.
He said the inherited description of the police as ‘crime fighters’ puts them in the defensive mode where they see people protesting for their human rights as enemies that must be put down by force.
Dr Tankebe posits that the Ghana police must be made to understand that they are the facilitators of citizens rights as stipulated in the constitution because that will help them to assist citizens in exercising their constitutional rights rather than stamping on the rights of citizens in the country.
He said the police should never be called to a demonstration armed in the manner that have been witnessed in Ejura because arming them to go and control protests will only yield one outcome, as have been witnessed in Ejura.
Dr Tankebe said this in an interview with Komla Adom on the Mid Day news on TV3, Wednesday, June 30.
He was commenting on the heels of the gruesome murder of Mohammed Kaaka and the protest that ensued after his burial that resulted in the police using live ammunition to control and disperse the crowd, leading to the death of two persons and four others severely injured in the process.
“The key issue here is the question about what sought of procedures do police have for dealing with demonstrations? And it comes back to the question of sending armed officers whether they are from the military or from the police themselves to demonstrations and it’s an issue how the police see their role in society. Anytime we define the police’s role as crime fighters and so forth, they get into this militaristic mindset which has a long history in our society. And I think the more we encourage the police to see their role as protecting the rights of citizens, the less likely we would have situations like this which get escalated into the deadly encounter that we have seen”, the Criminologist pointed out.
He added that “if the police themselves understand their role as facilitating citizens enjoyment of their rights as stipulated in the constitution of Ghana, it will help them in thinking about what it is that we can do here to help citizens rather than preventing them from exercising those rights. And I think it should never happen that police attend demonstrations like this armed in the way that we have seen. If you take armed officers to a demonstration there is only one outcome we can expect and that is the sought of outcome that we have seen, that they will shoot the citizens”.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana