FROM AHANTA’S DESK: THE POLICE OFFICER, A VOTER ON ISSUES
Very often when politicians come to power and appoint the IGP, they think they have satisfied the ordinary police officer and for that matter do not worry their heads over issues that are critical to the survival of the ordinary police like accommodation, safety of the police officer when combating crimes particularly in remote areas and villages, uniforms, boots and other accoutrements needed for the police officer do his work effectively.
Politicians forget that we have moved away from the days of revolution to a democratic dispensation whereby a every police officer has the power of thumb to change governments or retain them. Prior to the elections, some of us raised concerns about critical issues in the police service and discussed them heavily on social media particularly facebook and whatsapp.
The reactions for the police officers during the special voting calls for concerns about how the police officer is sensitive when it’s come to political decisions particularly about elections. It’s the only time the police officer voice out through the power of the thumb. The police officer now vote on issues affecting his/her every day life apart from the general prevailing economic decisions.
After trends of long discussions on various platforms on social media, it was obvious that the police officer was going to cast his/her vote with an influenced decision based on the underlisted topics:
1. FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE C.I 76
2. GRADUATE ENLISTMENT
3. UNENDING KILLINGS OF POLICE OFFICERS
5. UNIFORMS AND BOOTS
7. SINGLE SPINE NO LONGER A MOTIVATION
FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE C.I 76. For the past one half years, no topic has been greatly discussed into details more than the full implementation of the C.I 76 on social media particularly facebook and whatsapp among young police officers. Series of articles and commentaries have been ran on the need for the full implementation of the C.I 76.
There has been several attempts to petition the IGP and subsequently the president as to why the benefits in the C.I 76 has been largely ignored but the punitive aspects are rather forced to the later to the detriment of the ordinary police officer. The C.I 76 came to force in 2012 but has since received mass neglect as far the benefits are concerned. The ordinary police officer who maintained a constant social media presence would surely have not missed the topical discussion on full implementation of the C.I 76.
Those who voted for change might have thought of trying a different government to see whether just in case there might be attempt to address the concerns in the C.I 76 though it is currently going through amendment. Its full implementation is key to a growing number of police officers. If nothing is done about it, it can be another basis for vote come 2020 because we will still talk about it.
GRADUATE ENLISTMENT. Graduate enlistment into the police service met a mixed feelings and reaction in the police service especially among the junior ranks. The media reported how junior ranks were disgruntled about the fact that police administration has chosen outsiders who have no experience in policing over them.
The were uproar and murmuring among many junior ranks particularly those who have managed to get some degrees on the job though it against the policy regulations for further studies in the police.
Many police officers who voted for change particularly those graduates who are not being recognized by the police administration felt that the best way to deal with issues particularly in times that elections were fast approaching was to vote the incumbent government out since there is likely to be a change in the structure of police administration when there is a new government.
The “resign and apply” chorus sung by the police administration didn’t help matters at all in this case instead of calming nerves and engaging these disgruntled police officers and their emotions. Most graduate who were in the police service made a critical decision on the voting day based on this.
The expectation here is that there should be a structural improvement that will be rewarding the ordinary police officer more what it is now. Those who feel that they have suffered for the service should be rewarded by the service and the “galamsey” graduate felt they should have been considered first before all others.
UNENDING KILLINGS OF THE POLICE OFFICERS
This year many police officers fell to perpetual sleep through the guns of armed robbers, fighting of other sophisticated crimes and accidents. Life in the police became like being on a death roll when you don’t know the exact date and time that the executioner will come for you. It’s very easy to die in the police and leave family and friends unexpectedly yet still very little is done to protect the ordinary police as far as crime combat is concerned.
You can compile a list of police officers who were killed by armed robbers and made headlines in the news and for yourselves. A great number of them yet there has not been any strategic solution to end this incessant killings by the police administration. We keep dying like chicken. How to stay safe in the police service particularly a junior rank is just by the mercies and providence of God.
Many police officers who were killed in the course of duty still have their families struggling to survive despite dying for the state. The living police officer who has thumb just like all Ghanaians to vote either to change a government or retain it made a choice reflecting on how his colleagues died in line with duty and his or her fate in the police in the days ahead of him or her. The expectation again here is that there should be an improvement in safety measures put in place to protect the life of police officer when combating crimes. The police officer must be protected first before he or she can protects lives and properties.
Descent accommodation is all many police officers are yearning for now particularly those in cities like Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and other cities. Accommodation though a component of the full implementation of the C.I 76, many police officers publicly wailed about the accommodation situation in the police service now.
I hope we all remember the Meridian house situation at Tema which was ran by Captain Smart of Adom fm? Even though Ghana is developing, the sleeping place of the ordinary police and his family leaves a lot to be desired. We are still placed in cubicles like Captain Glover police which cannot even contain a family of three and one table top fridge.
Currently many police officers are renting than probably those in barracks particularly those in cities. We currently have a situation that more police stations are being built on increasing rate with very little being done to correspond with where the police officer will sleep to work in those stations. We are not clear whether we are now running the out- barracks system of housing the police officer or we are still maintaining the in-barracks system or both. The ordinary police officer who faces accommodation problems voted considering this.
UNIFORMS AND BOOTS
Good turn out makes a police officer looks smart and the smartness of a police officer can be measured from his or her turn out. That’s simple, isn’t it? For a very long time, common rain coat for the ordinary police officer was a problem until June 3 disaster where many police officers who were part of the rescuing team that went to Kwame Nkrumah Circle now called Kwame Nkrumah Interchange or Ghana Dubai with no rain coats.
The media quickly blew the whole story about police officers on rescue duties not having raincoats compared to their counterparts in the military. Quickly raincoats were shared to them. Something that made us believed that our administration hears the media more than us and the very reasons why many police officers have resort to the media to address their grievances.
Not quite long from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle publicity of police not having raincoats, they were quickly distributed to the whole country. Something I received one in more than 7 years and thanks to the media. No one can be a police officer with no uniforms and boots. We received some supplies though but based on our weather conditions here in Ghana, those uniforms and boots do not last for more than six months.
The police officer struggles to get uniforms and boots just work for mother Ghana but not himself. It’s a pity but we can’t talk. It’s very obvious that the police officer voted having the supplies of uniforms and boots in mind. Whatever the choice was, we have seen the manifestation of the choice of all Ghanaians including the ordinary police officer.
Promotion in rank is the life and pride of every police officer particularly the senior officers. Some love to be promoted than probably to be paid their salaries because it is believed that promotion itself brings money. Under the current police service regulations 2012, otherwise known as the C.I 76, promotion is 4 years based on vacancies subject to good conduct.
The progression of promotions in the police service has been slowed down a bit in recent times particularly among the senior officers. This made some senior police officers to mobilise themselves to petition the president about the delayance over their promotion. The police administration was very unhappy with that and threatened to deal with them ruthlessly.
Whatever it was, they later received their promotions. Here is the simple truth that probably influenced the police officer particularly among the senior officers who voted for change, it is believed that some government float promotions like shares since we have had the opportunity the opportunity to test both the NPP and NDC governments as far as promotions are concerned.
SINGLE SPINE NO LONGER A MOTIVATION
The single spine obviously influenced the voting pattern of the security services particularly police officers in 2012. It was the first time police officers saw what is really called salary. We saw a police payslip broadcast live on TV3 for the whole world to see how the salary conditions of the police officer has been improved so it is was expected that the various phases of the single spine will be rolled out for the police officer to “enjoy the land flowing with milk and honey” but unfortunately it didn’t happen that way.
The once weighty and fat single spine has been absorbed by inflation and both direct and indirect taxes. For the floating police voter like us, the single spine is not longer a motivation since it is a satisfied means. The police officer just like Oliver Twist keeps asking for more. We are insatiable beings who must be satisfied consistently.
Gone far the days when a police officer is considered to be a “zombie” with no brains to think for himself. Times have changed now and the police officer is now a rational being under this democratic dispensation to make a wise political choice. He makes wise economic decision and chooses between alternative forms governance which he thinks fit. If you please him, he will retain and if you displease him, he will vote you out. He also has “kokromoti” power and should not be taken for granted when making political decisions.
Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III