22nd April 2013, my joy online - The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has criticised the Ghana Police Service (GPS) for often acting in ways that did not conform to established standards of professional conduct. “One pillar of constitutional democracy is the rule of law but when it comes to the use of firearms officers of the GPS have been acting with impunity,” CHRI said. CHRI has subsequently called on government to set up an independent police complaint authority to expressly deal with such conducts.
Ms Mina Mensah, Regional Coordinator at the Africa Office of CHRI said this in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday. CHRI noted that the incident of the reported killing of three suspected armed robbers at Paragon Pub at Mallam-Atta on April 12 raises important concerns about Police Accountability. On Friday, April 12, it was reported that the Police had shot and killed three suspected armed robbers at a drinking spot in Mallam Atta.
According to CHRI, Deputy Superintendent of Police Freeman Tetteh had said the three suspects killed were on unregistered motor bikes, and “died during a shootout with the police while attempting to rob the bar and because the Police had a stronger fire power, they were able to overcome them and in the process they were shot dead”. But CHRI’s said its fact-finding mission on April 13, suggested the story told by the police was inaccurate. “According to those interviewed the suspected armed robbers came to the pub in an Infinity car and as far as they could see and hear did not engage the police neither did they rob the pub. “The Police however opened fire on the car and the shooting lasted for about 30 minutes,” according to CHRI. The Police Intelligence and Professional Standards have come out to say that they have begun investigations into the matter, a move CHRI has commended as “swift response”.
Over the years there have been media reports of Police exchanging fire with alleged armed robbers and killing the said robbers. CHRI however, said absence of a Public Complaints Authority as recommended by the Archer Commission to deal with Police misconduct and brutalities had allowed them to act with impunity. Ms Mina said when operating in a democracy, rule of law is supreme so the Police are expected to conduct themselves in terms of established standards of professional behavior.