By Bernice Bessey
One hundred and forty-three newly-graduated Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs) of the Ghana Police Service have received training on how to use effective communication as a strategic tool in building good police-public relations and confidence.
The three-day Communication with Communities (CwC) course focused on police education and communication strategy development for the service, under the auspices of the Police Affairs Directorate in conjunction with the Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP) of the European Union (EU).
The CwC course was detailed on capacity building of police officers to use communication skills towards the improvement of their relations with the public when rendering services at the station, charge office, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) offices, patrols, investigations, traffic duties among others.
COP Prosper Agbor, Director and Prosecution, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) at the closing ceremony of the CwC a few days ago at the Police Training School, Tesano, Accra, said ethical communication was important to the quest of the service in becoming a first class security institution.
He strongly held the view that ethical communication would build public-police relations, confidence, trust, and promote accountability and transparency.
Ethical communication is, therefore, expected to become an integral part of the training curriculum of the police, from the junior to senior ranks.
“I am delighted that the course covers very important aspects of operational policing such as promoting the image, responding to the needs of citizens, engaging with the local community, working with the media, and solving local and security problems and campaign planning through the use of effective and ethical communication skills,” he said.
He expressed profound gratitude to ARAP for the support, and other stakeholders, in their bid to support the Ghana Police Service.
Joseph P. Aikins, one of the CwC course facilitators, urged the police officers to imagine a Police Service that has trust and confidence from all the people of the country.
“Imagine a Police Service that doesn’t hide criminals. Imagine a Police Service that is loved and respected the people of your nation. A Police Service that responds to the needs of citizens. A Police Service that deploys officers on patrol to work in partnership with communities to solve their security and safety problems.
“This is familiar, isn’t it? Yes, it is. It is in your guide. Your guide in this morning’s exercise shows that justice and academic theoretical document, ladies and gentlemen, is a tool kit for change,” he postulated.
He continued that the officers further imagine a Police Service that they are going to be deeply proud of, as well as the citizens.
Mr Aikins, on this premise, urged them to think of the vision of the IGP, for which reason they should think about what they can do to make that vision a reality, saying, “Please, think about [the] communication with communities manual, and think about you as a team of people who have achieved in just in two and a half day. You are the force for change.”
Ana Esther Sanchez Garcia, a leader of the ARAP team, reiterated the course was to improve accountability, rule of law, and ant-corruption fight.
According to her, ARAP is supporting the professional capacity of the service, and as a result, it was working with the Legal and Prosecution Department of the service by equipping it with the necessary tools to execute corruption cases and ensure that all citizens have access to a fair trial.
Steve Smith, also a facilitator, indicated that Ghanaians desire effective policing across the country, saying, “Effective policing can only occur when police officers and members of the public partner to stay safe in the country.”
He added that this partnership requires police officers display not only strong technology capabilities of police skills but also good communication skills in dealing with the public.
He said combination of police technical skills and communicating with community form the basis of all police work.
ACP David Eklu, Director General – Police Public Affairs said the course was the first of its kind with the support from ARAP to introduce internal communication to the Service as a form of change communication to behavioural change in line with the current dispensation of transforming the Police Service into a first class one.
The course has give the service a lot of ideas to fill in the gap between the public and police. He said 16 facilitators were also trained from the Service.
According to him, it was not the first time that ARAP has supported the Service and commended them for the kind gesture.