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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Criticisms over killing of armed robbery suspects:

… As informants are rewarded

By Issah Alhassan, Kumasi

Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, Inspector General of Police (IGP) (left),  DCOP Patrick Timbillah, Ashanti Regional Police Commander (right)
Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, Inspector General of Police (IGP) (left), DCOP Patrick Timbillah, Ashanti Regional Police Commander (right)
AS THE Police Service continues to receive bashings from some groups and individuals over the rampant killing of suspected armed robbers, a Kumasi-based human rights group has lauded them for their immense efforts in fighting the menace, and other forms of criminal acts in the country.

The Human Rights Reporters’ Network, a group made up of both print and electronic journalists in the Ashanti Region, says it endorses the radical selfdefence approach adopted by the police in dealing with criminals.

A statement issued and signed by its Regional President and Communications Director, Messrs Clement Kegeri and Francis Dodovi respectively, commended the police administration for working hard to protect life and property in the region.

It said the Network took extreme view of the fact that though the police are supposed to protect the lives of humans and property, their lives must first be secured, before they can protect the rights of others.

“It is very strange that some human rights groups should be too much concerned about the rights of these suspected armed robbers and not that of the security personnel as well. We wish, by this statement, to disassociate ourselves from the so-called condemnations of the police administration by a section of human rights groups in the country,” the statement noted, and said the group was convinced by the explanation of the Police Commander in the region, that the killing of the armed robbery suspects, within the last one or two weeks, were as a result of selfdefence.

The group noted that recent history indicates that some policemen in the region, at one point or the other were killed or injured by suspected armed robbers, but very little was heard from these same human right groups.

The Human Rights Reports Network noted that its decision to support the police was premised on the fact that selfdefense was allowed by the laws of Ghana, and that it enjoins other human rights groups to be concerned about the rights of all, including both the vulnerable and the privileged in the society.

“Indeed, we will be very disappointed if the police, in spite of the professional training offered them, would engage armed robbers in a gun battle, and allow half of their number to be killed in the process,” the Network emphasised and said it recognised the action of DCOP Timbillah and his men, as a determination to provide a secure environment for the people in the region.

In a related development, two informants (names withheld), who presented the Ashanti Regional police with a clue leading to the demise of eight highway armed robbers at Anwiankwanta-Bekwai a few weeks ago, have been reward with an amount of GH¢2,000 each by the Ghana Police Service.

The reward, which was in fulfillment with the promise by the service to recompense people who provide the police with accurate and timely information, leading to the arrest of suspected criminals, was presented to the informants off-camera by the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbillah, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye.

The Ashanti Regional Buffalo Unit of the Police, at the behest of the IGP, were also presented with a cash sum of GH¢2,000 towards the “Operation Calm Life” scheme, which is aimed at weeding out criminals and other social miscreants in society.

At a short press briefing, held at the Regional Police Headquarters yesterday morning before the presentation, DCOP Timbillah reiterated the service’s commitment towards ensuring that society was rid off criminals.

He said the Police Service, as a security agency, thrives on the timely release of information, and said the reward to the informants was in appreciation of the risks took by the two people, which helped in the prevention of a grievous crime.

He, however, cautioned them to be very careful with their utterances, in order not disclose their identities, and eventually become targets of accomplices of the killed robbers.

DCOP Timbillah noted that the doors of the Police Service were always open to information, and re-echoed the pledge to protect all informants who deal with the service. The Ashanti Regional Buffalo Unit of the Police, following a tip-off from some informants, laid ambush for twelve highway armed robbers at Anwiankwanta-Bekwai a few weeks ago, killing eight of them, and injuring four others.

Source: Chronicle

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