Be strategic in your communication – Police told

Security experts have asked the hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) to use strategic communication in dealing with the rising insecurity in the country.

This means that the police must use an all encompassing communication approach that would lessen the rising sense of insecurity among the populace, and provide periodic update on assuring progress gained in dealing with perpetuators.

This strategic communication also involves the use of language and the choice of words that would make the citizenry see themselves as collaborators in solving the problem.

The security experts argue that the outlook of the police service amidst the recurrent armed robbery and violent crimes in the country-required communication that would assure the citizenry of safety.

In recent times, the country have been recording some cases of robbery attacks, and within this week, a number of attacks were also recorded.

On Monday, June 14, a group of armed robbers attacked a bullion van at Adedenkpo, near James Town in Accra, killing a police officer, General Constable Emmanuel Osei and a hawker, Afua Badu.

In another incident, armed robbers carried out an attack on a bullion van at Gomoa Okyereko on the Kasoa – Winneba road Thursday afternoon. There was no casualty.

Last Friday, a robber attacked a Nissan Pathfinder with registration number GE-8088-11on the GIMPA – Fiesta Royale road in Accra on

The robber reportedly threw a big stone at the vehicle, smashing its glass window on the door, and escaped after the driver raised an alarm.

A valiant gang also carried out a daylight robbery at Kafson’s Bureau De Change near Honeysuckle at Osu, Accra and bolted with GH₵ 600.

These and other robbery incidents in parts of the country have raised concern not only among security experts, but also among Ghanaians.

In the wake of the heightened insecurity, the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery said, compared to countries in the West African sub-region, Ghana is safer.

He indicated that, that was has accounted for people from the neighbouring countries to continually troop into Ghana, adding that the police have not lost the fight against crime in the country.

However, contributing to discussion on News File on Joy FM on Saturday, June 19, two security experts, Emmanuel Hakuba Bombande and Prof Kwasi Aning bemoaned the posture of the police.

The United Nations (UN) Senior Mediation Adviser, Mr Bombande, said it was unwelcoming to compare the state of insecurity in the sub-region to that of Ghana.

He explained that with the kidnappings and the kind of atrocities of violent crime in the West African sub-region, coupled with the robbery attacks in killings in the country, has made Ghanaians feel insecure.

“Therefore, when the police hierarchy refers Ghanaians to the happenings in the sub-region, they increase the sense of vulnerability of the people. Because when they do so, then they are communicating that “Do not worry; we are doing better than the others,” he said.

He also stated that it was important for the Ghana Police Service to acknowledge and accept that there is insecurity in the country in order to determine “how we go forward.”

Denying the state of insecurity in the country, the UN senior mediation adviser noted, would create more problems, while leaving the actual problem unresolved.

“The police is at the frontline and must accept the responsibility of leadership and how we are can deal with the environment of insecurity, so, you must carry the people along with you by informing the populace.

“When the people do not hear your update and when you occasionally engage the media and say, they should be assured because you are investigating, it does not help,” he uttered.

Aside that, Mr Bombande, said the Ghana Immigration Service must collaborate with its related agencies to control the proliferation of small arms that are illegal and come across the borders.

According to him, the police was not responsible for ensuring that arms are not proliferated, therefore “The Immigration, Customs, and its associated agencies that must ensure that our environment is safe, must be functional, efficient and effective” in their operations.

On behavioural change, he said, there was the need for a medium to long-term integrated approach to bring about urgent attitudinal change to support the operational duties of the Ghana police.

READ ALSO: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide – Kofi Boakye Tells Bullion Van Robbers

Adding to this, the Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research (FAAR) at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Prof Aning said, “The police must learn about strategic communication.”

In the midst of insecurity, it was important for the police to know how to communicate with “People who feel frightened, let down, and held in by people who have guns and use them indiscriminately.”

They must learn to “Use words of reassurance, and to stretch out your hands in a manner that says, please help us. This is our collective challenge, and we need a collective solution.”

Prof Aning said, the language and choice of words of the police in such a time would require the support of a professional communicator to ensure that they are couched in such a manner that calms the public.

The communication of the police should be one that would bring the public on board as collaborators, purveyors and providers of frontline intelligence, which then becomes critical in the fight against the criminal activities.

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