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On Security: We Are Paying For Years Of Negligence

This article is perhaps one of the most incoherent I have written but that is down to the anger boiling in. It took me twenty minutes to do this with my phone. Please don’t mark grammar or be a spelling checker because I don’t really mind making mistakes in the face if daylight armed robberies.

Move around Accra, you’d see many policemen directing traffic even in areas with functional traffic lights.

Meanwhile, in the Central Business areas which should pass as flashpoints, you don’t feel their presence so much.

Between Tesano and Achimota police station, you have the Railway area which is a very well-known illicit drug lane and a breeding ground for criminals. We have similar situations all over the City.

Everyone knows that prostitution goes hand in hand with illegal drugs and other criminal activities like extortions, robbery and what have you. Almost every major prostitute’s joint is less than a Kilometer away from a major police post. If you care to know, prostitution is illegal in Ghana and that is largely down to the criminal activities that go hand in hand with it. You won’t doubt this if you dedicate a day to checking well-known areas for this business

At Lapaz for instance, the joint is just 200 meters from the police station, between the hours of &pm and 5;30 am, you have many young men and women and seemingly persons underage smoking wee in full glare of people. If you see this an don’t see hard-core criminals in the making, then you’re not security conscious.

Look at Circle and the situation isn’t different even though Adabraka police station is a stone throw away.

There’s is daylight robbery at circle by some phone dealers, crimes there are widely known and well documented. These guys steal at knife and gunpoint, bring the stolen phones to sell at Circle. As if that is not enough, many buyers end up buying woods or tiles instead of phones.

You see, criminals have come to realise that Ghana isn’t proactive in terms of security. We don’t identify threats timely enough. Even at police barriers where the transfer of arms for such criminal activities are to be checked, they rather focus on dealing with Trotro driver’s license and DVLA registrations. Most private cars move without their booths checked. This is why so many people have access to unregistered guns.

Why should we train police people and limit them to directing traffic and blowing unnecessary panic alarms just to avoid being in traffic?

Police visibility is key to crime prevention. These robbers know where the money is, they know where the police aren’t on the ground.

In Accra and Kumasi for instance, our two major cities have so many slams around them. There’s a slam around the airport, there’s a slam around east Legon, Flagstaff House has a slam behind it.

Slams are also breeding grounds for criminals. This is why there’s the need for police presence in even slams to not only detest crimes but protect those who live there as well.

Above all though, we need to find a long-term solution to these slams because our Cities are one of contrast. Almost every major developed area is either flanked by a slam or close to one.

Around November last year, I had a meeting with an MP in Parliament House, I left his office around 10 pm, the security man at the exit point of Parliament made me jump the wall because the one with the keys to the main gate wasn’t there. I looked at the wall and it was so easy for people to enter the August House without being seen. Most of the street lights there were off too. Even as a layman, when I go to Parliament house, I see countless security loopholes.

Sometimes the scanner is off or the one who attends to it lets people walk into the gallery without being checked based on his discretion.

When you dress formally and nicely so, there’s a big chance that you’d be made to enter without being checked.

We still see poor, not so handsome and people poorly dressed as those capable of carrying out crimes.

Our negligence cuts across

We forget that some of the greatest crimes were committed by people in suit and with laptops. The gunmen don’t come until the suit men do the survey and find loopholes.

Add this to the porousness of our borders that allow anything and anyone in. Most of our major crimes and daring ones of cause have always seen the involvement of foreigners who entered our nation without going through the right immigration procedures.

Two years ago at Accra Industrial areas, Melcom Junction to be precise, two guys on a motorbike with the one at the back carrying lady’s bag rode past about three policemen who were focused on directing traffic. It was impossible for the police not to see them but I cannot say for sure if the noticed one was carrying lady’s bag.

I found it very awkward so I spoke to one of the policemen there and told him about it: he brushed it aside as though I was being needlessly inquisitive.

For the first time though, we are being made conscious of the need for paying attention to details which is the foundation for building a secured society.

In the Twenty-First Century when going cashless is the order of the day, people still walk out of the bank carrying Five Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis. Some even travel with such monies in Taxis.

I provide a service for a security company and one of the dominant discussion I’ve had with the owner over the past five years has been about how foreigners are willing to invest more in security here as compared to Ghanaian owned businesses. State institutions are even worst: they pay the lowest are always in arrears.

A couple of years ago, Security Companies were made to submit bids for the security of Ghana’s Airport. The successful company shortlisted was asked to share the job with a company that didn’t even enter the bid. Before the issue was resolved, the new company had taken over everything. When the capacity and track records of both companies are brought to the table, it’d take only a lunatic or a corrupt person to opt for the company that won without bidding.

Instead of addressing such issues, we do politics and make crime a point scoring avenue for whoever is in opposition.

We need more policemen on the ground, we need surveillance cameras on our streets and key areas and we need a modern service centre for Ghana Police where crimes can be reported in a timely fashion. Calling the Ghana Police service is more difficult than calling MTN Customer Service during their system upgrade. We cannot be celebrating 100 cars when the need is in thousands.

Above all, politicians should be named and shamed for seeking political points with crimes. They should be seen as key perpetrators of such crimes.

If armed robbery becomes a point scoring avenue for politicians, then they’d start engaging the service of such people to render whoever is in power unpopular.

Playing politics with crime institutionalises it. This is what we did with corruption: we can’t allow it to fester with robberies

Education bereft of common sense is the biggest hindrance to development and one that we must strive to over because we can’t pray our way out of it

We are a naked country

We are naked and in trouble

Isaac Kyei Andoh

About Isaac Kyei Andoh

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