Ghana Police do random searches now without warrant? – Enock Agyepong writes
Follow @eventlabgh < For over a week now we have been on the side of the police even when the...
For over a week now we have been on the side of the police even when the odds seemed against them simple because they are the last line of hope for the citizens and therefore if we demonize and break them down as an institution it means we are putting ourselves in danger as citizens since they are the same people we will run to for help when we are in danger but after having a taste of some of their trained officers yesterday I will flip the page and discuss that chapter and probably go back to the previous page if possible.
It looks like a new phenomenon the police is using to extort monies from Citizens is what they now call RANDOM SEARCH.
At First when a Policeman stopped your car he would check your papers and drivers license and when everything is correct he will then ask how far and in return you find some batteries for his touch light and move on with your life but for some reason things have changed and now the police is forcibly searching and taking Monies from Drives and passengers.
If you are not lucky and some ntampi is found on you then JACKPOT.
Yesterday we were supposed to go to Central University in Prampram for a sound check by 2pm but we left Tema at 2pm and was running late so we took the Ashiaman overhead and descended back to the Tema end of the motorway. Just when we got to the roundabout a Police patrol car stopped us with their over hooting horn.
Three(3) fully armed policemen came out and said they were conducting a Random Search for Arms. I was surprised because this was the first time hearing someone coming to SEARCH without a SEARCH WARRANT.
If you know how we move as musicians you will know our situation. Our uniforms as musicians is dreadlocks, colorful hair, plenty chains and sometimes rings like Shabba Ranks so immediately they stopped us we knew what they were searching for and it had nothing to do with Arms like they said.
I told them we had a sound check and had to meet that schedule but they just didn’t care. The started the search at 2:14pm and ended at 3:05pm and didn’t see whatever the fcuk they were looking for yes it took that long, from all the 6 seats to the booth and engine to be searched so I got mad and trust me l had no choice than to react like a mad man.
The macho man doing the search couldn’t take the madness and threatened to even slap one of our bloggers who also challenged, then he said even though they didn’t find anything he will no go on to traffic offenses.
Can one explain how an Arms search can turn into a traffic offense inspection?
After realizing all our documents were correct and finding nothing again he saw my sandals in the car and said I was driving barefoot he is now arresting me for driving barefoot.
By this time we were really running late so the musicians had to get an Uber to Central and one of the Policemen joined my car and together with my 2IC they followed our car to the Ashiaman Tulaku police station.
When we got there their leader asked me for my license but I declined and told them I will like to write a statement and put the license number on it.
They went round the station looking for someone I guess, then finally an officer walk in and said gentleman your case have been handed over to me so I will take your statement and process you for court.
I thanked him and followed him to his desk.
He asked me what the case was and I explained then he asked why I was driving barefooted and I showed him my slightly swollen left foot which I suffered the previous day from training.
He inspected my license and asked us to go for our car and attend the program.
He came to see us off and advised us to be a little patient next time we are confronted by their men.
We thanked him, gave him a Promo CD and off we went to Prampram for the LXG Artist Night.
We got to the venue around 5pm then moved to the beach for some brain fresh air and by 9pm some of us had to return back to tema for another program.
We got to kpone Junction at 9:30pm and dropped 2 of our guys who were going to Michel Camp and just before I got to Tema I had a call from them saying some Policemen had stopped their taxi and searched every passengers pocket and ransacked the whole car smelling everything green they saw and after finding nothing asked them to leave, in fact what shocked me was according to them a police officer asked one lady in skirt to raise it which she refused.
If I may asked Are we moving towards a POLICE STATE?
Is our President behind this activity? because the impunity with which this operation is being conducted is appalling and it’s as if we are in some school with a headmaster terrorizing us as students.
During the Cote Divoire war I used to drive from Tema through Elubo to Abidjan and yes on the Ivorian side they had countless roadblocks with heavily armed Police and soldiers and not even once did they ransack our car like what I saw yesterday in Ghana.
For some reason they were always happy to see a Ghana number plate and after checking your papers and realizing everything is intact they will speak some broken Twi and ask you to have a safe journey.
Now in our own country as a Law abiding citizen we are being treated like common criminals without any reason just for driving and moving around and when you speak to power they try to implicate you with things like driving barefooted.
I finally asked myself could this be the reason why a Trotro driver and his Mate could Master an abnormal courage to beat up a Policeman in helmet with the passengers giving them fans?
Are our policemen enforcing the laws or they are just provoking and extorting from citizens?
Before I drop my pen let me try and see if I can try to explain the Law enforcement bit.
You are driving without a seatbelt on and you are stopped by Policeman A, he ask you to put the seatbelt on and continue driving.
The next day Policeman A sees you again without the seatbelt on, he then arrest you and send you to the station because it could be your bad habit and as a second offender the punishment should be stronger.
Policeman B stops you driving without your seatbelt, he tells you, you are under arrest he pulls out a pen and starts writing on a piece of paper he then ask for your license and whiles giving him the license you add something small, all of a sudden the ink begins to finish in the pen he hands you back your license and tells you, you are lucky paaaa then you drive off without wearing your seatbelt.
The next day you see Policeman B again at the same spot and still without the seatbelt on he waves at you and you wave back and drive on without the seatbelt on.
In the Eg 1 Policeman A is enforcing the law and in Eg 2 Policeman B is just using the Law and his uniform to extort.
An officer is trained and has something called discretion and I believe we should all begin to respect citizens whose taxes are used in paying the Police since that’s the only way citizens will respect back because RESPECT is RECIPROCAL.
(Story: Enock Agyepong)
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Source: Beenie Words