Review Small and Light Weapons Act – Bureau of Public Safety

Executive Director of the Bureau of Public Safety Nana Yaw Akwada has called for an amendment to the Small Arms and Light Weapons Law in Ghana in order to be able to deal with the problem of gun crimes in the country.

He also proposed that the top hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service will have to re-launch the police visibility programme in order to scare away criminals from engaging in their reprehensible actions.

His comments come after the Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Jones Borteye Applerh revealed that more civilians are applying to own their personal guns.

Mr Applerh described the situation as worrying.

“This year we have seen an increasing number of people wanting to own guns in Greater Accra. We are worried but it is also a function what we see in our society. People don’t feel too safe.

“The license to possess a fire arm, if they give you the license you are supposed to process it, that expires after 6 months but the license to own a firearm when you have imported a firearm is one year,” he told Johnnie Hughes in an earlier interview on Thursday, October 15 on TV3.

Also speaking in the interview with Johnnie on the Community Connect on 3FM Friday, October 16, Mr Akwada said :“We will want to see a review of the Small Arms and Light Weapons law. There, we will take care of all those gaps that Mr Applerh mentioned.

“All the gaps that he has listed we must take immediate steps to fill in those gaps. As it stands now, we are contending with over 1.1 million, that is about 43 per cent of all the arms in the country, in illicit hands. So the earlier we take a move the better.”

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He further noted that although the state is mounting close circuits television (CCTV) all around the country especially in the major cities, there is the need to increase the police visibility as well.

He explained that police visibility is an important measure in preventing crimes from happening in the first place.

According to him, criminals are most likely not to be able to embark on their nefarious action if they realize that the police are all over the place.

This, therefore, makes a case for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to deploy more men in uniform into the communities to protect the citizens, he said.

“I must admit that I see cameras springing up at some vantage points in town. In Tema I saw about two camera stations which are springing up, this is a very good initiative.

“But where are the street lights? Where is the Police visibility programme? They are not there. The cameras do not arrest people, the cameras cannot resurrect people. They will only lead us or give us clues as to who did what. But ultimately our aim is to prevent the crime from happening in the first place.

“So where are the Police on the ground? Those are some of the things that inform citizens to want to own their own guns.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana