The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, has advised religious organizations to invest in contemporary security and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to beef up security surveillance on their premises.
He said although churches in Ghana had, over the years, enjoyed peace and security from attacks by religious terrorists, the current threats and attacks on churches in neighbouring countries were a wake-up call to the religious community.
For that matter, the IGP suggested that church leaders, ushers, among others, must be trained on some basic skills in security, body language and how to move people to safety, adding that closed-circuit television (CCTV) equipment and other security gadgets must be installed on church premises.
Also, improved data sharing, “smart ID cards” with biometric identifiers, “smart visas” and improved border security, digital surveillance, and face recognition technology must not be trivialized.
The IGP’s advice was contained in a speech read on his behalf by the Director-General of Police Administration, Commissioner of Police (COP) Christian Tetteh Yohuno, at the 30th Biennial General Council Meeting of the Assemblies of God Church Ghana in Cape Coast.
The weeklong Meeting on the theme: “ O Lord Revive Thy Work”, will take stock of Church’s activities and elect a new General Superintendent of the Church and other national executives to steer affairs of the Church for four years.
The IGP encouraged churches to be security conscious to detect suspicious characters who as terrorists, may infiltrate their ranks.
They must also pay attention to sitting arrangements of new members and visitors during church services, with some security arrangements around them until their dedication can be trusted.
Dr Dampare reiterated that security was a collective responsibility and, therefore, church leaders and members must demonstrate serious interests in their own security.
He, therefore, urged religious bodies to partner the government and the security agencies to sensitize their members to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.
The activities of terrorists, according to him, were intended to cause instability in the sub-region, cause fear among the public and derail the progress of governments in their development efforts.
Therefore, he advised the public to embrace the “See Something, Say Something Campaign,” and be one another’s keeper to prevent the activities of terrorists from spreading into the country.
He expressed appreciation to the religious institutions for the role they had played in the socio-economic development of the country over the years, as a true and reliable partner to improve the standard of living of their people.
Apart from the church’s core mandate of spiritual upbringing of humanity to attain salvation, he said, the numerous interventions such as the provision of schools, scholarships, health facilities, water and sanitation, relief services and micro credit to its vulnerable members were commendable.
The IGP also stressed the need for community members to identify strange characters in order to report them to the security agencies.
“The public not to delay in reporting strange people with strange characters in their churches, social gatherings and their communities.