Monday, August 16, 2010

Police need more than Single Spine

Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah is a Criminologist and Lawyer

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday August 16, 2010
Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, a renowned criminologist and lawyer says the recent increase in salaries of police personnel will not automatically lead to improved security in the country.

He said “security will enhance if apart from the increased remunerations, police personnel are given all the necessary accoutrements and equipment to be able to combat crime effectively and also maintain peace and order.”

About 23,000 personnel of the Ghana Police Service reportedly witnessed substantial increases in their July pay following the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and most people are of the view that once conditions of service is becoming better the police have a binding duty to ensure total public safety.

The Inspector General of Police, Paul Tawiah Quaye, interacting with the Implementation Committee of the SSSS at the Police Headquarters had said “personnel of the Police Service have been astounded by their pay-slips for July 2010. Most are still coming to terms as to whether it is a one-off event, a mistake by the payroll office, or a real commitment by government to implement a salary regime that adequately compensates them for their efforts".

"Majority of personnel would now be free from the severe and unbearable financial constraints that used to confront them on daily basis, a situation which used to impact negatively on their performances."

"The SSSS would create a more relaxed mental environment that would enable personnel to be more dedicated towards work and enhance their productivity in the long run. Personnel now know that, their efforts are now being significantly and appropriately rewarded," he added.

Public Affairs Director of the Police Service, Superintendent Kwasi Ofori said that the increase in emoluments would boost the morale of personnel and engender discipline and professionalism in the service.

But in an interview with the Daily Guide in Accra on Friday, Prof. Attafuah, Executive Director of Human Rights Institute noted that “we cannot continue to expect so much from the police if we do not work hard to improve their general condition, training accommodation and their mobility.”

“They need other tools and facilities to work with. It is only when we do that we can have legitimate basis to challenge their performance.”

He said that the increase in emoluments is a step in the right direction adding “it will further motivate those personnel who are already committed to high ethics and high performance.”

Prof Attafuah said “there are police officers who before the introduction of the SSSS were decent, highly ethical and hardworking. This will constitute a significant boost to their moral and motivate them to even greater performance.”

He regretted that there are “a crop of police officers who have become inordinately addicted to bribe taking and other corrupt practices”, adding “for such people increased remunerations may mean very little and may not make a dent in their bribe taking behaviour.”

He said once the police officers are now getting improved remunerations, corruption as he put it “can reasonably be expected to go down because they will not be lured by petty bribes that are given to them.”

“The performance of police officers is a combination of many things. The public should take into consideration their level of training, the logistical support, the corporation they enjoy from the public and the validation or affirmation they receive from their superiors.”

He said it will take a while for the new SSSS to alter the material circumstances of police officers.

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