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Should police disclose information about how criminals are arrested?

botchway November 9, 2018

 

That criminal activities are increasingly becoming sophisticated is no more news. With the aid of modern sophisticated gadgets, criminals, especially in our cities such as Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi among others, are able to outwit the police with ease. A case in point was how two Nigerians invaded a pharmacy shop in Tema, as reported by The Chronicle recently, and made away with huge sums of money.

Though the CCTV cameras were working to perfection, it did not deter these criminals from attacking the pharmacy shop in broad daylight. Earlier in the year, armed men attacked Royal Motors Ghana Limited at the North Industrial Area in Accra and made away with huge sums of money. With expert knowledge in ICT, the criminals disabled the CCTV cameras within the twinkle of eye, before seizing the money kept in a safe.

Apart from armed robbery, others are also using technology to steal from mobile money accounts of unsuspecting Ghanaians. We are, however, lucky that the banks have been able to secure their software, thus, making it virtually impossible for these criminals to invade the sector. The good news is that the police are able, in most of the cases, to arrest these criminals, most of who are foreigners abusing our hospitality.

The Chronicle is, however, worried about the way the police release vital information into the public domain whenever they arrest some of these criminals. With regards to the Tema pharmacy shop case we referenced earlier, the police gave all detailed information about how the arrest was made. They even told the journalists that whilst the operation was going on in the pharmacy shop, one of the criminals had parked a saloon car in front of the shop, and that his colleagues quickly joined him as soon as the operation was over and sped off.

According to the police boss, his outfit was able to accost the suspects because the saloon car parked in front of the shop was captured by the CCTV cameras at the pharmacy shop. As we had maintained in our previous editorials on the subject, the staff of The Chronicle are not security experts, but we shudder to say the police are wrong in putting these vital bits of information in the public domain.

With this development, it is only a foolish criminal who would drive and park in front of a shop they are robbing, knowing very well that the security cameras will capture them, which will eventually lead to his or her arrest. We shouldn’t forget about the fact that the criminals were initially robbing their victims without covering their faces.

But as soon as they realised that they were being identified, they changed their modus operandi and started wearing masks.

Again, because of the information being put in the public domain by the police, some of them have even started wearing hand gloves to avoid forensic fingerprints examination. The Chronicle is not against the invitation of the media to brief them on operations they have carried out – far from that, but this is not what we are thinking about.  Our concern though, is that the police should withhold some of the vital information from the public, and only release them in a court of competent jurisdiction.

As we have earlier alluded to, it is only a fool who drives and parks his car in front of shop he is going to rob, knowing very well that the cameras will capture him. The more these criminals are aware of how the police go about their investigations, the more they would also try to outwit them. In the end, who suffers – it is the general public – because the police would not have the antidote to arrest the criminals who are terrorising them.

These criminals are fast thinkers, and the police must always be a step ahead of them. We do not think the public is more interested in how the arrest was made than to quell most of the robberies. We rest our case!

 

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