Community Police Assistants (CPAs) engaged by the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) in the Upper East region have lodged open complaints about some limited logistics, saying the shortfall is seriously hampering their operations.
The CPAs, 409 in number in the region, have only one uniform and a pair of boots each, and they are without raincoats as heavy rains continue to disrupt plans and destroy property across the region.
Some of the officers, who were employed a few months ago, say they now borrow trousers from senior officers of the Ghana Police Service for operations. This, they say, is because their trousers have all too soon become too tattered for public sight as a result of washing and the “poor quality” of the materials used for the uniforms.
“We have been performing duty with only one uniform. The down (trousers) is not good. It is condemned. We have to plead with policemen who have some to [lend] us because we don’t even have money to buy,” Arnold Chanase, an officer in the Kassena-Nankana West District, told Starr News.
Dennis Yamborigya, a CPA in the Nabdam District, complained: “My concern is our uniform. We were given one. Now, here is the case the road is not all that good. You wash today; tomorrow you have to wash it again. The uniform is becoming white. One day, you won’t see us at our duty points simply because our uniforms are not there.”
Patrolling barefoot with beret
Some of the officers, who expressed their grievances publicly across the region with a plea for aid from government, also complained to newsmen that their boots were oversized, making it difficult to go after lawbreakers on the run.
They cited instances where motorbike snatchers managed to escape with items stolen from wailing victims as the running feet in the boots worn by the CPAs behind the snatchers, according to eyewitnesses, only bore a clumsy resemblance to two miserable pestles in separate mortars at a busy kitchen.
Even as some of the officers walk about in boots, parts of their feet reportedly still can be seen dragging outside on the floor as there are annoying holes under their footwear. To wait until the soles of their boots are finally gone before resourcing them, for observers, is to court a public ridicule of the officers possibly being nicknamed “Beach Soccer Police” as they patrol barefoot with a black beret.
“Some of our boots are oversized and some are too tight. Mine is too tight. It hurts my toes. I can’t endure [the pain] for long. One of our ladies has oversized boots. She cannot even move with it. We advised her to put some cushion inside; she refused. She is now wearing ordinary black shoes for operations,” Albert Dahamani told journalists at Nangodi, capital of the Nabdam District.
No raincoat, no visibility
The visibility expected of the CPAs has been falling short of range due to the lack of raincoats amid persistent heavy downpours across the region.
“Some of us like me, my distance is too far. It’s affecting us. When it’s raining, you can’t go to work. And if you force yourself through, everything on you would just be wet. Today like this, I suffered before I reached the [police] station. I just reached Sheaga when the rain started. It rained heavily and I had to stop there until the rain stopped. I could have continued if I had a raincoat,” Solomon Boare told Starr News in the Talensi District.
Similar frustrations are being expressed in the other districts where appeal for torches for night operations as well as raincoats has been intensified as the region, where floods have hit several communities severely, now nears the peak of the raining season.
Logistics to arrive before end of year
Meanwhile, authorities at the YEA have disclosed that procurement steps are being taken to provide the CPAs with the needed logistics to facilitate their operations.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations at the YEA, Luke Atazona, announced this at a roundtable he held with the press at the close of his recent tour of the region.
“All of them that we have employed and deployed have at least one uniform and they have their boots. However, we know that one uniform is not enough and we are currently trying to procure. We have even started the process of procuring additional uniform for them. At the moment they have one pair (of boots) and we are going to get them reflective jackets. We are just following the Procurement Law. I think that they will get it before the end of the year,” Mr. Atazona reassured.
Deprived districts unsatisfied with quota
Some 2,050 youths in the region have been engaged so far by the YEA in a number of modules including security, afforestation, agriculture, health and education among others.
Whilst the municipal and district assemblies in the region hail the relief the jobs created by the agency has brought to several homes, some of the assemblies, particularly those in the deprived corners of the region, are dissatisfied with the recruitment quota. They say underprivileged districts should enjoy priority attention.
“We had 70 people under the health assistants’ module. But for prisons, we had 6; fire, we had 9; and community police, we had 11, which I think is woefully inadequate for a district like the Talensi District. I want to make a passionate appeal to the managers at the regional level that if you have 100 to distribute to the districts, do not want to think that the metros, the municipalities and the deprived districts should take the same quota. I see the reverse happen, where you are rather seeing a higher number coming from the municipalities and very low percentages rather coming from the deprived districts.
“I think that the pendulum should change so that we rather have higher number of people being recruited from deprived districts and, then, you have a moderate number being taken from the municipalities. In summary, the municipalities may have more youth engaged in security module because crime rate is higher in the municipalities; but the rural districts should also have more youth in the agriculture module because they do more farming than the municipalities,” the District Chief Executive for Talensi, Edward Awunnore, told newsmen.
Source: Ghana/starrfmonline.com/103.5FM/Edward Adeti