Rethink Firearm Bearing By Cops


A retired top internal security manager in the country has asked that consideration be given to equipping police officers with non-lethal weapons.

That is not to state that normal firearms should be dropped. These, he said, should be reserved for special operational uses where the lives of officers are under threat from armed criminals.

Body cams, as part of the uniform of police officers, should be given consideration, we think.

The idea is that besides officers whose assignments such as those on night patrol in armed robbery prone areas, and those on bank duties, others on normal police duties, should be equipped with taser shockers, pepper spray and others which are non-lethal.

The bearing of AK 47 or military grade firearms by police officers even where the tasks assigned them are not life-threatening is not advisable.

The story of Inspector Sulemana Adam who allegedly collected a GH¢100 from a commercial bus driver and left his firearm, an AK47, behind, is as scary as it is shameful.

For an officer of that rank to leave such a powerful assault firearm in a trotro underscores the level of recklessness of some officers under the circumstances.

It has rightly brought to the front burner the issue of the bearing of military grade firearms by cops even in places where that should not be.

There have been instances where cops carry their service rifles in commercial vehicles such as trotros. For a firearm such as the AK47, Osama Bin Laden’s weapon of choice, the possibility of accidental discharge is very high. Indeed, there have been instances of such accidental discharges with fatal consequences on sadly innocent persons.

The Rapid Deployment Force cop Inspector Sulemana Adam was bearing his AK47 as many of his colleagues do sometimes oblivious to the possible dangers associated with that. Leaving the firearm in the vehicle due to the excitement of fleecing a hundred cedis from a driver is an unpardonable blunder. It could have been a different story but for providence.

What if somebody without any knowledge of weapons had tampered with the trigger catch of the firearm on ready mode? Of course the consequence could have been fatal given the attributes of the AK47.

It would be in the interest of the nation to take another look at retooling the police with modern state-of-the-art gadgets which though non-lethal can demobilise criminals sufficient for them to be moved to the charge offices for processing.

We acknowledge the financial implication of such an alteration but the long-term advantage would inure to our national interest.

Inspector Sulemana had no business bearing an AK47 assault weapon at a lorry station or on a commercial vehicle.

The case referral to the Police Professional Standards Bureau for investigations is appropriate.