The late Emmanuel Osei
The Ghana Police Service has threatened to withdraw its officers who escort bullion vans of banks to various destinations across country if the management of the banks fail to provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting currencies.
The Inspector General of Police, James Oppong-Boanuh, has therefore given the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) up to the end of June, this year, to provide the prescribed bullion vans or lose the escort services of the police.
The directive has been necessitated by the recent killing of a police officer who was escorting a bullion van by armed robbers at Adedenkpo near James Town in Accra.
The police officer, who was identified as Constable Emmanuel Osei, was shot in the head when the four armed robbers ambushed the bullion van on Monday, June 14, 2021.
The Director in charge of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Kessie Abayie–Buckman in a statement said Mr. Oppong-Boanuh has also directed the Director General in charge of the Criminal Investigations Department to take over the bullion van attack.
She said their investigations showed that the armed robbers using a number of motorbikes crossed the bullion van which was on a pay and collection errand around 11am.
She has urged individuals with information on the incident to contact the nearest police station or call the investigative team on 0262122086, 0244994564 or 0244280001 or on Toll Free Police Emergency numbers 191 or 18555.
IGP Meets BoG Over Ultimatum
In a related development, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh, yesterday met with the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison, Executives of the Ghana Association of Bankers, and Managing Directors of banks in Ghana to discuss further solutions to minimise the risks associated with moving cash in the country.
The meeting, according to a statement issued by Supt Buckman, was also attended by the Second Deputy Governor, Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi, Directors of BoG and members of the Police Management Board.
She said during the meeting both teams agreed that commercial banks implement the use of standardised equipment for specie and Cash in Transit (CIT) services by June 30, 2021.
She indicated that this would include services outsourced by the banks to any company that performs CIT duties.
“The meeting also discussed other immediate, medium and long term measures for banks to operate in safe and secured environments. Matters discussed included protective gear for police officers on bank security duties, security background assessment of staff used for cash duties, security of vaults and banking premises, among others.
The Police Administration therefore assures its officers and the general public of the Administration’s commitment to protect the lives of police officers in the discharge of their constitutionally-mandated duty of maintaining law and order,” she added.
IGP Meets Slain Police Officer’s Family
Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh yesterday visited the family of Constable Emmanuel Osei to commiserate with the bereaved family at Millennium City in the Gomoa East District.
Present with him were some members of the Police Management Board and some senior police officers.
Addressing the family, the IGP assured the family of the slain officer that the police would go all out to get the perpetrators arrested.
He debunked the assertion that the Police Service was out of touch with the realities when it comes to fighting crime.
“Any security analyst will know that the West African sub-region is experiencing high wave of crime in all the countries. It does not mean we should not do anything out of it but we are doing what we can to protect Ghanaians,” he said.
He added, “We will go to whatever extent to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.”
Touching on the use of fragmentation jackets (bullet proof) by police officers, Mr. Oppong- Boanuh said the investigating team would also look into the reasons why an officer on duty was not wearing a bullet proof vest.
It would be recalled that a police officer escorting a bullion van was shot dead at Adedenko, Metal Market Road near James Town by a four-member gang of armed robbers in Accra.
The police officer, identified as Constable Emmanuel Osei, was killed on the spot together with a trader selling her wares close to the scene, also identified as Efua Badu.
Efua Badu, a mother of three, according to a witness, was shot in the head for raising an alarm but the driver, identified only as Nicholas also sustained various degrees of injuries while a female banker identified as Grace Essel escaped unhurt.
The rifle of the police officer, witnesses said, was taken away by the armed robbers while escaping on two motorbikes together with the booty concealed in a sack.
An eyewitness had narrated how two motorbikes approaching from opposite directions ambushed the bullion van and how their pillion riders got down and opened fire on the police officer and a lady selling her wares nearby.
The daylight armed robbery adds to others that took place at different parts of the nation’s capital. The one which occurred near the Police Headquarters particularly prompted questions about how the robbers could be so daring.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey