Independent body needed to address police-public mistrust – Bureau of Public Safety

The Bureau of Public Safety is calling for the establishment of an independent police complaints body to receive and act upon issues regarding police misconduct.

The Bureau believes that this will help restore public confidence in the police.

In a statement after series of public incidents that highlights a trend of mutual disrespect for rights and freedoms between citizens and the police, BPS said if the problem is not “addressed with urgency, public tranquillity and law and order will grind to a complete halt thereby threatening our democratic development.”

The recent incidents identified by the Bureau of Public Safety are the assault of three journalists with the Ghanaian Times Newspaper by some police officers in Accra and the verbal attack on the Central Regional Police Commander at the University of Education, Winneba by the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Agyapong.

Also, the physical assault of a police officer at Weija by a commercial bus driver and his conductor.

According to the Bureau of Public Safety, such incidents are indicative of an institutional failure and a lack of trusted systems that allow the public to lodge complaints about the conduct of police officers.

These “incidents are symptomatic of a grave institutional failure and lack of systems that will offer civil hearing, in a trusted environment with assurance of confidence that will provide trust for a need to lodge complaints, and hope to receive fair hearing.”

It added that the police must at all times be responsive to the needs and expectations of the public and use their authority to act in the interest of the public.

“Public trust and confidence in the police are prerequisites for effective policing. Without this trust the public will not be willing to cooperate with the police in the discharge of their duty and may continue to physically challenge their authority to enforce the law thereby compromising public tranquility and undermining our democratic experiment,” the Bureau of Public added in the statement.

Source: Fiilafmonline/Citi

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