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I have been forced to write this piece due to the blatant way in which personnel of the Ghana Police Service flout laws of this country with so much impunity.

From the title of this piece, I am asking a very simple question, is the Ghana Police Service supposed to enforce laws or support the citizenry to break them??

I have come to this juncture because of certain observations i?ve made with regards to the actions of certain personnel of the Police Service and i believe that by the time you finish reading this piece, you will either have the answer to my question or you?ll also go on and ask others the same question.

Seat belts: by the police. I know for a fact that the use of seat belts is a must for every driver on our roads. Drivers are normally arrested and hurled to court for not using their seat-belts whiles driving.

Now, can somebody tell me why lots of Police vehicle drivers do not wear seat-belts??? Is there a special provision or clause to this regulation that exempts them from wearing their seat-belts whiles driving??? I believe i?m not the only one who has seen them driving through town without their seat-belts on.

It becomes very scary when they are driving for an operation at that top speed, in-between other cars and you realise that the driver isn?t wearing his seat-belt. This is sometimes done even with their superiors in the vehicle.

Using Cell Phone Whiles Driving: The use of cell phones whiles driving all over the world is a no-no. Apart from it being a road offense, it is also dangerous for the driver and other road users. Why then do Police personnel use their phones whiles driving.

They drive around with one hand holding their phones to their ears whiles controlling the vehicle with the other hand. This is done sometimes even without them wearing their seat-belts. I wonder who trains them and what they are told during their training.

I remember asking one police driver this question in traffic and the answer he gave me was ?my friend get away?. This answer immediately made me realise that the officer knew very well that he is breaking a law but he feels he is too big to abide by the law. This is the sort of people we have protecting our laws and enforcing them.

Police brutality: I know they?ll say that they have the powers to use minimal force in the execution of their duties but my question is, when a police officer stops a driver for a road offense and goes ahead to slap the driver, pull him out of his car and continue assaulting him, what is the offense of the driver and what prompted the use of that ?minimal force????

I know someone will say that maybe the driver resisted arrest. If i jump the red light, you can ask for my license, take down the number,my name and all other relevant information and then process me for court. There is no reason why you have to assault me in any way.

Why should a driver be hit in the head with batons for committing a road traffic offense??

In Ghana, once a suspected criminal is arrested, the next thing is for that person to be given the ?mandatory? two slaps by the police. We always see these people in the newspapers and on TV with various degrees of injury. Yes they might have resisted a bit but should that lead to such bodily damage? Isn?t the average Ghanaian protected by the constitution with regards to his rights?? what happened to human rights??

These people can indeed be criminals but until proven guilty by the courts and sentenced, they remain just suspects. What happens to the injury if the person is found not guilty and released???

Meanwhile, the Police is classified as peace-makers?

Okada business: I can?t even begin to count the number of times that the Police have come out to state that the use of Motor bikes (okada) for commercial activities is illegal in this country. They sometimes go round and seize some of these bikes from the riders and process the arrested drivers for court.

After this action, give them just a week and the riders are back in business. The reason being that the Police which is supposed to enforce the law that makes their activities illegal is also patronizing the bikes.

It is very common to see police officers riding on these bikes from one point to the other. It is also very common to see these bikes parked at traffic intersections and doing their business with police presence. No one needs to tell you that the fear for the law enforcer has died within these riders.

Helmets: I know these are mandatory for every motor rider. How many police personnel wear helmets when riding motors??? I?m not talking about those riding the Police Bikes.

They ride in town without any protection whatsoever, yet they?ll arrest others for doing the same. Sometimes you find two police personnel riding on one bike and none of them is wearing a helmet. What are they teaching the public??? Once again let me ask, is there a special provision that exempts them from wearing helmets when riding motor bikes???

Display of weaponry: When you get stopped by the Police, be it road offense or any other issue, it is very common to see them point their guns at you as if they are ready to shoot. As much as this is unprofessional, this is also illegal. I remember very well that just recently, the IGP indicated that citizens should report any police officer who points his gun at him/her, especially during a road check.

Bribe: This issue has been said many times but it looks like our men in black, do not care. This action which goes against both the giver and the taker, has been trampled on by personnel of the Police service.

From the past where even asking for it was an issue, now Police personnel blatantly ask you for it. It is now very normal for you to get to a road block in the evening and have Police personnel ask you for something for mosquitoe coil or ice water. They even go to the extent of blocking the road and not allowing you to pass until you do what they call ?amamr3? (custom).

These are just a few of the many law flouting acts of some personnel of the Police service. The rate of lawlessness in this country has shot up drastically and one can understand because the enforcers themselves are glaringly breaking the laws in public.

In trying to find an answer to my question, let us all as another basic question, Do the Police know the laws they are supposed to enforce???

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