Reformation vrs Transformation – The Case of the Ghana Police Service

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Ghana Police
Ghana Police

A reasoned academic opinion by Mohammed Abdul Hanan EL-Saeed.

Reformation and transformation are two concepts used to describe changes in security sector, intelligence, policing, and cyber security, but they have different meanings.

Reform refers to a series of changes made to existing structures or systems aimed at improving performance, increasing efficiency, effectiveness, and improving the quality of service delivery. Reform involves a gradual and planned transition from the existing system or structure to a new one. Reforms can include changes in policies, procedures, laws, and regulations or in the organizational structure, management systems, and workflows.

Transformation, on the other hand, is a radical change that alters the core structures and systems of an organization. Transformation involves a complete overhaul of the existing structures, systems, and operational procedures, often requiring a high level of investment in resources, technology, and training. The objective of transformation is to create a new, innovative, and efficient system that can adapt to changes and meet current and future challenges.

In the area of security sector, intelligence, policing, and cyber security, reform involves changing policies, procedures, laws, and regulations to achieve specific objectives such as improving efficiency, reducing corruption, and enhancing public trust. Transformation, on the other hand, involves a complete overhaul of the existing structures, systems, and operational procedures to create a more effective and innovative system that can respond to the changing nature of security threats and keep up with the rapid technological advancements.

Advantages of Reform and Transformation:

1. Enhanced Security: Reform and transformation would lead to a more efficient and effective security system, reducing the risk of security threats, cyber attacks, and other potential dangers.

2. Improved Intelligence Gathering: Reform and transformation could lead to an expansion of intelligence agencies’ capabilities, increasing their capacity to identify and neutralize threats earlier.

3. Better Policing: Reform and transformation could improve the public relations aspect of policing by promoting community engagement and trust.

4. Cost Savings: Reform and transformation could lead to budgetary savings since it is more efficient to have a streamlined system that meets the modern world’s demands.

Disadvantages of Reform and Transformation:

1. Resistance to Change: There is always resistance to change, especially when it involves an entrenched system or bureaucracy.

2. Disruption of Careers: Reform and transformation could also lead to job losses, staff redeployment and requalification.

3. Political Interference: Political interference could undermine a security system by promoting loyalty to those in power over merit-based decisions.

4. Lack of Accountability: A reform or transformation initiative may fail to ensure accountability of the security services, which may turn into more harm than good.

5. Privacy Concerns: Transformation in the areas of intelligence and cyber security could infringe on individuals’ privacy rights.

Overall, the advantages of security reform and transformation outweigh the potential downsides. Reform needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis, with measures in place to address potential drawbacks

The Ghana Police Service faces many challenges in the 21st century, especially in the face of the fast-changing nature of crime brought about by advances in information communication technology (ICT). Both reform and transformation can be useful approaches to addressing these challenges, depending on the specific needs and goals of the organization.

Reform generally involves making changes to existing structures and processes in order to improve their effectiveness or efficiency. In the context of the Ghana Police Service, reform could involve updating training programs, improving communication systems, and increasing resources such as personnel and equipment. These reforms may help to address some of the immediate challenges faced by the police, but may not be sufficient to address the long-term needs of the organization and the changing nature of crime.

Transformation, on the other hand, involves fundamental changes to an organization’s culture, values, and strategy in order to respond to new challenges and remain relevant in a changing world. In the case of the Ghana Police Service, transformation could involve a shift towards a more proactive approach to policing that emphasizes community engagement, intelligence-led policing and the use of new technologies to prevent, detect and investigate crime.

Ultimately, both reform and transformation will be necessary to ensure that the Ghana Police Service can effectively address the challenges posed by the changing face of crime in the 21st century. The specific strategies used will depend on the priorities and resources of the organization, as well as the needs and concerns of the communities it serves.

Whether the Ghana Police Service should choose reform or transformation would depend on several factors, including the current state of the police service and the resources available. In some instances, reform may be sufficient to attain international standards in policing, while in others, transformation may be necessary. Ultimately, the decision should be based on a thorough assessment of the current state of the police service, a clear understanding of the desired outcome, and the resources available to achieve it.

Academic qualifications of police officers play a significant role in transforming and reforming the police force to meet international standards. In Ghana, the current minimum educational requirement for a police officer is a Senior High School Certificate Examination (SHSCE), which is equivalent to a high school diploma in other jurisdictions. However, recent efforts have been made to increase the educational qualifications of police officers to meet international policing standards.

Studies have shown that higher levels of education among police officers lead to better decision-making skills, critical thinking, and communication skills. These skills are necessary for effective policing and building trust with communities. Additionally, enhancing the educational qualifications of police officers contributes to their professional development and offers opportunities for advancement in their careers.

Therefore, it is essential for Ghana’s police force to prioritize the educational qualifications of police officers in the transformation and reform process to meet international policing standards. This can be achieved through the provision of training programs and incentives to encourage officers to pursue higher education. Ultimately, a well-educated police force contributes to the improvement of public safety and the protection of human rights.

Undoubtedly, on all fronts, the Ghana Police Service has in the last decade taken some significant towards attaining international standards. Some of these steps include but certainly not limited to the following;

1. Improved Training: The Ghana Police Service has undergone significant improvements in training over the past 10 years. The service has initiated training programs for officers in various areas such as human rights, community policing, and forensic investigation. The Detective Training Academy (DTA) where I am currently attending a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Course has seen marked improvement since I last came here in 2016 to undergo my basic training in investigation. The transformation in training and infrastructure at the school within this period cannot be overlooked.

2. Expansion of Police Stations: The Ghana Police Service has expanded its number of police stations across the country in order to increase its presence and coverage.

3. Adoption of Technology: The Ghana Police Service has also embraced technology to improve its effectiveness and efficiency. This has included the introduction of digital systems for record keeping, crime analysis, and communication.

4. Improved Community Relations: The Ghana Police Service has taken steps to build better relationships with the communities it serves. This has included the establishment of community policing units, creating platforms for dialogue and consultation, and pursuing community-based outreach programs.

5. Reform of Internal Structures: The Ghana Police Service has embarked on reforms to improve organizational structures, such as changes to recruitment processes, promotion criteria, and performance evaluation systems.

6. Increased Collaboration and Exchange: The Ghana Police Service has established partnerships with other international law enforcement agencies to improve coordination and collaboration in solving transnational crimes.

7. Promotion of Gender Equality: The Ghana Police Service has made significant strides in promoting gender equality within its ranks. The service has increased the recruitment of women officers, and also established policies to combat sexual and gender-based violence.

8. Improved Welfare of Officers: The Ghana Police Service has prioritized improving the welfare of officers by providing better housing, healthcare, and pensions.

9. Increased Accountability: The Ghana Police Service has taken steps to improve transparency and accountability, such as the establishment of internal affairs units and the conduct of investigations into instances of misconduct.

10. Enhancement of Professionalism: The Ghana Police Service has made efforts to enhance professionalism among its officers by establishing regulations and standards for conduct, and by providing opportunities for continuous training and development.

Even though it may appear that a case may have been made forcefully academic qualifications in the service, it goes without saying that that cannot be the only way for promotion or acceleration in the service. In fact, the Ghana Police Service has requirements for recommendations under C.I. 76. where personnel can be recommended for promotion if they demonstrate high level of competence, professionalism, and commitment, dedication to duty and to serving the community.

This may include strong communication and leadership skills, an ability to work well under pressure, a commitment to ethical conduct, and a dedication to continuous professional development. There may also be specific requirements related to education and training, physical fitness, and other criteria. It is best to consult the guidelines and regulations of the Ghana Police Service for specific details.

Mohammed Abdul Hanan EL-Saeed
K414, Ward K
Tamale

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