Ending the Civil Society – Law Enforcers antagonism
Maintaining law and order in the society could be traced as far the Biblical era, when aside the core mandate of warding off the invading Palestinian forces, there were also special Units called Temple Guards assigned on specific duties ranging from protecting the properties of the temple right from its gates through the inner courtyard to keeping eagle eyes on the gold vessels used in the temple.
Further, these guards are directly responsible for ensuring orderliness and protect the lives of thousands of worshipers who periodically come visit the temple. (1 Chronicles: 26, 2 Chronicles 9:22 / 12:11, Acts 4:1 refers).
Factually, a Historian known as Flavius Josephus (born Joseph ben Mattathias in 37 C.E. in Jerusalem.) made it clear in his writings called the Antiquity of the Jews, that Ancient Israel had organized law enforcers, who saw to the payment of taxes, maintenance of roads, that civilian behave properly without hesitating to bring deviant ones to order.
To achieve this purpose, rules must be set and enforced, movements must be controlled, actions monitored and some areas Jerusalem restricted from being visited.
Interestingly, due to Human natural inclination to freedom, society has always seen these controlling and rarely bullying officers as hindrances to their personal freedom.
With this in mind, these law enforcers, maintaining law and order and who are mandated to protect the lives and properties of civilians have for ages rather been likened to a stumbling block.
This could undoubtedly be said to be the very genesis of the Civilian-Police antagonism. In line with this, there are palpable instances where insulting, pelting with stones, blackmailing, assaulting or even killing of these Law enforcers is considered as an act of bravery.
Civilian-Police antagonism- Brief relevant police history
History has it that in Ghana, law enforcement (policing) started very long time ago with officers attached to the Royal Court (Ahenfie Police), whose prime duty was to serve verbal summons, deliver orders from the ruling Chief, apprehend tough and recalcitrant subjects and subsequently give them the deserved punishment according to the verdict pronounced by the tribunal judge.
Later, with the arrival of the colonial masters, these local law enforcement system had to abdicate their powers in order to pave way for the establishment of a Colonial Police Force called the Gold Coast Constabulary in 1894 and a modern-day policing system in 1921, with the adoption of the name Ghana Police Service in 1957.
By the nature of the rigorous training undertaken by officers, which are tailored to withstand the demanding and pressurizing tasks ahead of them, there is no doubt that they become stern disciplinarians, intolerant and practically allergic to indiscipline, waywardness, and vices.
In furtherance to this, since by virtue of their calling they must also be knowledgeable, resourceful, smart, alert, strong, and resilient, it is no surprise that the civil society easily mistakes them for superhumans and the slightest err from law enforcers is quick to become issues of national interest.
This said it is easier to remark that, there has therefore been a millennia-old feud between the two parties.
Service Instruction (S.I.) or The Policeman’ Bible
However, by estimating the numerous priceless services rendered in the past and modern days by these Men and Women who risk their lives every day, it is clear that their usefulness far outweighs their flaws!
1. The minimum six (6) months training period (depending on the situation, training periods could reach as far 9 to 12 months in some instances) feels like 600 years to recruits under training due to the rigorous nature of the training.
2. The Take it hot but give it cold theory. This means the harsh conditions met at training could have rendered upcoming officers literally into beasts! However, Instructors (Trainers) make sure to all along tame them to be firm, but at the same time fair in all situations.
Had it not been so, there would have been uncountable incidences of indiscriminate shootings and assaults.
3. Officers start serving the Nation as far during training periods.
4. Modern-day law enforcers, especially Policemen are the most stressed civil servants of all time according to scientists. They serve under all conditions, whether favourable or otherwise.
5. Policemen may have everything, except time. Even though normal duty shift is 8 hours, there are other duty schedules such as 6 am to 6 pm, 24 hours or even until further notice!
6. A Policeman in active service in always on duty, whether in uniform or not.
7. Due to the high level of stress incurred daily, Police Officers seem to be the most prone to hypertension, migraines, anorexia, lethargy, insomnia, lack of appetite, anemia and other cardiovascular diseases.
8. Policemen in the Ghana Police Service, themselves have tons of rules and regulations usually nicknamed chargeable offenses, that are used as a yardstick to check their actions and professionalism during their period of service.
This compilation is called the Service Instruction (S.I.) or The Policeman’ Bible.
Conclusively, even though there may be cited instances where Police Officers are caught up in infractions, they are in actual fact valuable personalities of the Nation and for the Nation. Civilian-Police antagonism is never the way to go.
Their values and presence are inestimable vis-a-vis imagining life without them! They sacrifice a lot to firstly maintain the caps on the head then protect lives and properties.
It is, therefore, an irrefutable that they deserve respect from those they protect and completely erroneous to treat these hardworking officers as though they were foes.
One ought to remember that they overlook a lot of mischief from the part of the civil society just in order to better discharge their assigned duties, thus delivering upon their core mandate.
Won’t it be beautiful if the civil society starts loving, appreciating, tolerating, forgiving and living in harmony with our Peace officers instead of the Civilian-Police antagonism? The next time you meet a Police Officer, give him/her a pat on the shoulder and encourage him/her.
The Civilian-Police antagonism must stop, contrary to the ages-long myths, Policemen are never enemies, but our friends!
No. 49222 G/L/Cpl. Ebenezer Kweku Mensah (The Patriot)