UN Senior Mediation Adviser, Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, says the Ghana Police Service must admit that there is insecurity in the country to address the problem holistically rather than focusing on the privileges people get on media.
His comment comes on the back of the Police Public Affairs Director, Supt. Sheilla Abayie-Buckman, saying that people who have access to the media are just abusing the word “insecurity in the country” to create fear and panic.
“It is very important here for the Ghana Police Service to acknowledge and accept that there is insecurity in other to then determine how we go forward,” he told the host of JoyNews Newsfile, Saturday.
Lately, there have been many crimes in the country, notably the recent attacks on bullion vans in the Greater Accra and Central regions. One of the attacks led to the death of a police officer and a bystander.
Also, there was a wireless message warning about possible attacks on Ghanaians by Burkinabe bandits.
Commenting on the development, Emmanuel Habuka Bombande said the way forward on the part of the police would be to provide the public with constant information and not deny what is visible.
“If we deny it, then we are actually creating a problem, or we are not going to be able to address the problem when we deny it,” he apprised.
He said the anxiety of insecurity may begin with an individual because he or she feels vulnerable, “but then we collectively share our individual experiences and insecurities then become collective, but it begins with the individual.”
The security expert noted that Ghanaians feel insecure because they are aware that the West African Region is insecure with kidnappings and violent crimes among others.
Mr Emmanuel Bombande said, therefore, the Police should not say that “we [Ghana] are doing well than other countries.”
“So when the leadership of the Police hierarchy wants you to look at what is happening in the region, they are increasing your sense of vulnerability because what they are communicating is, don’t worry, we are better than the others,” he said.
He said the more the police reminds the public of happenings in other countries, the more it increases the sense of insecurity in the people, “and that’s not the way to go.”
Mr Bombande also said that although the fight is a collective one, the Ghana Police Service must champion the leadership role.
“The Ghana Police Service are not alone in this, so on the one hand, they are in the front line, and they must accept the responsibility of leadership on how we are dealing with the environment of insecurity.”
According to him, the Service needs to provide the public with a prompt update on happenings in the country to give some assurance to the citizenry.
“When you do that you are assuring the public and carrying them with you,” he said.
Therefore, the Senior Mediation Adviser suggested that the Police adopt a communication mechanism to get the public to understand and support the operational duties of the Service.
“What prevents the Police, [for example] that every Friday afternoon, our key major persons know that at Police Headquarter, there will be a one to a two-hour press conference for the media to interact with the police and educate the Ghanaian populace about what the Police are doing on each of the issues that you enumerated at the beginning of the programme,” he told host, Sampson Lardi.
He said regarding the killing of the officer in the bullion van; the Police could have communicated through the media that “we have not yet been able to apprehend the culprits, but our investigations are leading us to a point which we are confident that very soon we will apprehend them, just one sentence.”
“But when the people don’t hear you, they don’t hear your updates, but once in a while when you engage with the media, you then say be rest assured, we are following and we are investigating, it does not help,” he said.