The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has led a multi-stakeholders? round table discussion on the proposal for creating an Independent Police Complaint Commission to deal with indiscipline and to promote accountability in the service.
The discussion brought together relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the need for an effective and efficient independent civilian police complaint body and examine existing policing oversight structures, as well as create public awareness on the proposal to establish an independent commission.
Mr James Agalga, Deputy Minister of Interior, said the Ministry had been considering establishing such an independent commission; however, the resource mobilization remains a challenge.
He said the Ministry had realised that such an independent commission was required to check personnel of the Service against professional wrongdoing, following the inability of the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau to deal with incidences of misconducts.
Mr Agalga said the Ministry was considering working closely with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to take up the challenge since CHRAJ was endorsed to investigate human rights violations including police misconduct.
He suggested that the independent commission could be placed under the Interior Ministry in the interim, while legislative measures were being developed.
The civil society organisation, however, recommended that the said Commission ought to be independent of the Police?s parent Ministry.
Ms Mina Mensah, Regional Coordinator of CHRI Africa, said: ?as we seek to deepen democracy in this country, the face of policing needs to change and conform to democratic principles, which is the principle of accountability.?
Accountability goes hand-in-hand with responsibility and transparency, thus when a person is given a responsibility, the consequence is that such a person ought to account for the exercise of that responsibility and in many instances the determination is by law.?
She said an independent body to oversee the professional conduct of the police was very important in guaranteeing peace and security that allowed the citizenry to enjoy their rights fully.
Civil society groups working on policing have for years been calling for the establishment of an independent civilian complaint authority, to promote accountability and curb the menace of police indiscipline resulting from weak accountability mechanisms.
The discussion spearheaded by the CHRI, Africa and the Coalition for Civil Society Organisations was on the theme: ?An effective independent civilian policing oversight: too important to neglect, too urgent to delay.?
Participants included the Police Council, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General, the Ghana Bar Association, Legal Aid Scheme and National Commission for Civic Education.