Bad police officers are having a field day at East Legon, Accra, in the name of patrolling and so-called roadblock duties.
A story in this edition on the subject does not help the image of the law enforcement system at all and the country at large since one of the victims is an African/American; she has gone to social media to narrate her ordeal at the hands of AK 47 wielding young cops at East Legon.
It is worrying when the reason such occurrences are unfolding is that the Police Administration through divisional and district commanders lacks an effective means of monitoring their officers in the field. Reporting the bad guys for the appropriate action to be taken is so nightmarish that victims in most cases just go along with the extortion to have their peace.
In their bid to exert or better still abuse the authority at their disposal, they would invite their ‘quarries’ to the nearest police station and ask them to wait for hours on end in the name of investigations. In the end, they let go their victims, East Legon being only a replica of what pertains in some parts of the country as young police officers use the uniform to line their pockets.
We have learnt that, to a large measure, some rogue cops on patrol duties veer into East Legon who are not necessarily officers assigned to this part of the city. It becomes sometimes near impossible to trace them when they breach integrity standards – a dangerous possibility which can only be addressed when commanders monitor those who go on patrols and their conduct during such missions.
A social media powered audio of an African-American’s experience at the hands of extortionist cops referred to in an earlier paragraph calls for investigation so the appropriate deterrent signals can be transmitted to the bad nuts in uniform.
She gathered the courage to challenge them after they had ordered her to alight from her car for a search. In the end, it was ‘a much ado about nothing’ when they discovered no money was going to be made from a woman who knows her rights and whose body language told them that she had rightly profiled them.
Another story of a woman parting with GH¢3000 refunded later anyway all give the police a bad name.
We are glad the IGP has ordered immediate investigation into the spate of harassment at East Legon. We cannot on one hand be seen to be wooing tourists to the country and on another turning our backs to the extortionist conduct of some police officers.
The Police Administration must unfurl an effective means of ensuring that those who go on night patrol are themselves monitored. Indeed, relevant commanders at both division and district levels must be held responsible for the misconduct of the mostly young cops.
We would also suggest that members of the public are encouraged to report bad cops to their commanders. A special office can be opened at the police headquarters where victims of patrol related extortion can be reported. The Police Intelligence and Professional Standards unit in its current state is unable to handle swiftly such cases because of the long procedures and bureaucracy. It is unsurprising, therefore, that none of the victims of the East Legon extortions has bothered to report their ordeals to this office the reasons being palpable.