Yesterday, we had a heated debate on our whatsapp platform #ImplementCI76fullynow. The group mainly comprises of junior rank members of the Ghana police service of like minds who are demanding a full implementation of the Police Service Regulations Act 2012 C.I.76 We engaged in very educative an interesting argument I must say.
The topic was “Are junior members of the Ghana Police Service professionals? ”
Everybody on the platform who contributed did so with passion, vigor and support for the rank they belong. Although, most people understood the topic and the definition provided ab initio and tailored made their debate more academic instead of one based on “dictionary answers or literal meaning ” of who a professional is, who is a professional, what profession means and so on. Others largely lost it.
Colleagues who contributed to this debate gave all sorts of accounts as to their understanding of the topic which in most cases did not necessarily address or speak to the topic under discussion. Rather, most of them misconstrued the word profession to mean the same as a professional.
They supported their argument with “professions” like; drivers profession, tailors and the likes as professions.
Mind you, their examples can only qualify as professions when you are strictly talking about trade or occupation or simply when you are not speaking from the professional ethics point of view but talking business or speaking street sense or giving dictionary meaning.
I must state here and now that almost all members of the junior ranks spoke in favor of the Junior rank and of course that was to be expected and in fact, very obvious.
I was surprised they didn’t mention Lecturers, Teachers, Accounts, Lawyers , Doctors and of course Senior Police officers.
All of them were on the side of the motion that saids the junior ranks are professionals like the senior ranks of the service.
I disagreed and I was the lone voice in an ocean of junior ranks.
I held the view that the junior ranks are not professionals and so cannot be called as such and I shall be strengthening my argument in the next few pages just so that I will be able to win them over to my side.
Here I go…
The definition of a professional according to my former Lecturer Dr Bonsu Osei-Owusu of the Methodist University College Ghana states that “A professional is a person who is trained and certified in a recognized body of skills, uses them in meeting the needs of clients and obliged to standardized levels of competence and ethics generated by the profession and acknowledged by the public.
Here I asked a very simple question which I humbly want to repeat here. Between junior ranks of the police service and the senior who do you see in this definition?
Is it the junior rank who is only trained for six months and has no specific special skills and cannot readily walk in a ready employment should he be dismissed a day after Depot or the senior member of the service who goes to police college with a certificate or several years of experience to go and learn relevant courses in all manner of fields and also giving skills to lead, command and control the junior ranks of the service?
I think there is no guessing here except for you to accept that the senior members of the service are more qualified to be called professionals than the junior members of the service.
Because I understand the definition in the practical and academic sense of it and not a dictionary meaning of it , I forcefully made my arguments based on facts devoid of fiction and conjectures without bias nor prejudiced disposition to my rank as a member of the junior rank myself.
I saw the debate more as an academic one than one that should just be about which rank is more qualified simplicita. I also saw it as one that will strengthen the knowledge base of the junior ranks instead of one the will divide us .
It is always good to debate but whilst we do that let’s try to tolerate divergent views of your fellow debaters in good faith. Others as I observed took the debate too personal just because one of them -a junior rank was debating on the side of senior officers.
For me, anything that will enlighten the junior ranks of the service and keep our brains busy always, I am for it.
To support their arguments, my colleagues threw in red herrings and tried to question the professionalism of some senior officers.
But I held my own against them as the debate got more keener and heated. I pointed out to them that, there is a vast difference between what an individual senior officer does or not do properly in the discharge of his duty that can earn him a tag of been labeled as acting “unprofessional” and this does not necessarily take away the fact that he belongs to the senior rank of the service that is considered as a profession.
Mind you, as I indicated earlier, a professional can also be said to be a highly trained member of the service with certain characteristics of training and discipline that more or less set him apart from other categories of workers.
So I ask again, between the junior ranks of the service and the senior ranks who is highly trained and possess distinctive characteristics and analytical skills?
Your answer definitely is the senior ranks.
Going by the two definitions above, I sought to further advance and strengthen my side of the argument by posing the following questions to my fellow debaters.
1. Are the junior ranks trained and certified at the same time during their six months training at the depots?
2. Although the depots are recognized institutions, do we get to be trained in different sets of skills, command and control tactics, management, administration and so on just like it is for the senior ranks at the police colleges?
3. Is our six months training able to equip us with any specific skills that we can depend on if we were to be dismissed a day after training without any certificate that you can use to walk straight into another employment?
Walk into a private security company at least.Anyway!
4. Does the junior ranks have clients we serve with any professional advice apart from taking instructions from senior ranks to do our work?
5. Do we have any set of skills per our training than that which we receive from time to time from our seniors in rank in the form of in service training?
It is undeniable that our six months training is woefully inadequate and not enough for us to be imbibed with standardized levels of competence, high level of moral and ethical standards.
7. Because we are not recognized as far as the definition of who a professional is ,anything we do in the service, we do not stand any single opportunity of taking the credit. It has to go to the body that is leading the tail and in this case, I am talking about the senior ranks.
They are holding the leadership positions.
Now that is who a professional is.
The debate got even tougher and tougher and I had to throw in a summarized but closed definition of who a professional is in contemporary times and asked my colleagues to read through and tell me if they can find a semblance of anything close to the junior ranks bracket in all the definitions I provided.
If that defines a junior rank instead of senior rank then I am ready to concede.
The following are worth considering I must say that this typifies a professional and I can’t find a six months trained person in it.
1. A broadly educated person. Note : to the extent that your certificate or training is not what you are employed with in the service, you can’t call yourself a professional police officer.
Somebody wanted to use my training in counter terrorism and insurgency and my experience in variety of fields to convince me that I was qualified to be called a professional but I resisted that bate because the service doesn’t recognize my experience and knowledge in those fields and as such they are not using me in the appropriate field.
So, simply put, a square peg like me in a round whole cannot be called a professional.
2. A professional is a person who possessing highly developed skills and knowledge.
3. A person working under the discipline of an ethic developed and enforced by a body of peers is a professional.
4. A person commissioned to satisfy complex needs by making judgments entailing potentially dangerous consequences.
From the foregoing again, I will like to draw the following conclusions to enhance my argument without prejudice or malice towards the junior rank, the rank I belong.
Although, currently a lot of our kind can be said to be broadly educated boasts of all manner of certificates, to the extent that they are not employed and working with those certificates in the service, taking through a recognized institution of the service known both from within and without with the mandate to train the top management and human resources of the service, they cannot be said to be professionals until they are able to use those certificates and experiences either within or without.
Once you remain in the service and you are not certified by the top institution of the service, you are not a professional yet.
As junior ranks, what skills set do we get at training in our six months training so that we can always walk into another job after police?
Can we call ourselves professionals?
Don’t you think we should be asking for certification and special skills set at training?
Why are we not fighting for the depots to be given the go ahead to award diplomas or even degrees for instance like some other institutions like teaching and nursing colleges have done?
For those who opted to skew the argument towards professionalism instead of who a professional is , I responded thus;
Among the senior ranks for instance, they always live and work by certain ethics and do not break rules and regulations so randomly like the junior ranks do.
Police officers from the rank of Assistant Superintendent and above are regarded as commissioned members of the service by dint of the fact that they satisfied stringent strict selection processes and qualified and are in perfect standing to make judgments during events entailing potential dangerous consequences.
In our case, what we are known for is to use our number six from our six months training at depot.
So, I think, my colleagues on the other side of the argument who believe and hold the view that those in the junior ranks bracket can also be referred to and called professionals just like those in the senior ranks should gladly abandon their arguments and join my side of the argument after reading this copious free information I have given them as to who a professional really is.
Which would you prefer, joining the Panacin Abdul Hanan Painkiller side of the argument so that authorities will wake up to the realization that we need more than we are currently getting in termsof training or be on the side of the argument that says they are already professionals because of six months training?
CPL Mohammed Abdul Hanan EL-Saeed
Chiraa Police Station