The New Publisher would not mince words; we are raising a worrying concern about the rising number of uniformed and fully armed police officers and men who under the pretense of being on night patrols to maintain public order and safety, end up being dishonorable extortionists who have no shame whatsoever in demanding money from hapless civilians who are either ignorant of their rights or have broken the law.
The trend is disgracefully unacceptable and as a society, we should be honest about it, else the results could be catastrophic. It is one of the reasons that a good majority of Ghanaians have very little or no respect for the country’s police service.
We are not even talking about the uniformed police officers at the regular checkpoints who flash their torchlight’s into your face, throw you a salute and then spew their popular chorus: “something small for the boys sir!!!”. In as much as that is nauseating, we can live with it.
Our concern in this piece is those police officers and men who are sent on night patrols and they end up using all forms of threats, intimidation, bullying tactics and violence to demand money from hapless motorists at night.
It is time we placed the searchlight on this unprofessional, unethical irresponsible conduct by some uniformed men, who end up giving the entire Police Service a very bad reputation and demeaning testimonial.
They stop your car and claim they are searching for “ammunition and drugs”. When they find nothing, they zoom in to inspect your car particulars, road worthy and insurance stickers, and sometimes even ask for your car jerk or fire extinguisher!!!
Sometimes, such search takes forever until you pay them and it includes they pushing you rudely and asking all manner of questions ranging from some rather unintelligent ones asked in wrong English to a couple of rude ones, just to frustrate and put you off.
Dare complain and they would say you are challenging a police officer on official duty therefore you should be taught where power lies or forced to follow them to a police station where they waste your time and leave you only after you have parted with some cash.
That is even a lesser evil as compared to when they find you to be without a license readily available or they find your car lights to be faulty or some other misdemeanors that should be taken care of by men from the MTTD.
You are threatened, bullied and intimidated till you give them money. Then they salute you, shake hands with you and bid you a safe drive.
Try as hard as the Police hierarchy may bend over backwards to deny it, there are too many uniformed police officers driving in vehicles fueled by the taxpayer, who are engaged in this camouflaged thievery as their major priority when they are sent on night patrols.
To avoid the harassment, intimidation and waste of time, motorists tend to find some cash to sort out such police patrol teams even before the drama begins and drag on endlessly all night.
This is wrong. This must stop. It would worsen the animosity in police-civilian relationships. It would lead to a situation where criminals would pay their way through, while innocent civilians get harassed and intimidated. This is shameful.
If the Inspector General of Police claims he is not aware of this growing trend, he should try driving in a saloon car at night, dressed in something casual and with a young guy wearing some dreadlocks or funky hair cut seated by his side…. Your guess is as good as mine.