Have you experienced the positive impact of IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE's policing methods/tactics in the Upper East Region from August 2021 to August 2023?
Mr. Speaker, I wish to respectfully ask whether you have experienced the positive impact of IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE's policing methods/tactics in the Upper East Region from August, 2021 to August, 2023.
Mr. Speaker, I don't really mind whether IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE is NPP or NDC or PWD. I will speak up for him in this writeup as a citizen from Dodowa working in Bawku and other parts of the Upper East Region!
Since the end of August 2021, I have been observing, monitoring and reporting on community participation in border management activities - to counter and deter terrorists attacks in the Upper East Region. Whilst in the region, I used the opportunity to monitor and report on conflicts at Manyoro-Natugnia, Doba-Kandiga, Bolgatanga and Bawku.
Mr. Speaker, as I travelled across the region, I noticed the challenges/gaps in Police Operations, and the efforts to improve the situation since IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE took office on 1st August, 2021.
Security situation in the region
The Upper East Region shares borders with Burkina Faso, Togo, Upper West and North East Regions. I noted that the region faced and continues to face peculiar security challenges, including the following: Terrorist threats, influx of persons escaping jihadist attacks in neighbouring countries, armed robbery, motorcycles-snatching, smuggling (fuel, fertilisers, etc.), targetted assassinations, hoarding of caches of arms, chieftaincy and land disputes, illegal mining, etc.
Policing situation in Region
When I arrived in the region, I noted and started writing articles on some of the challenges/gaps in operations of the following Police formations:
(1). Regional Headquarters (RHQ) - composed of Regional Headquarters, Regional Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Regional Counter-Terrorism (CTU), Regional Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Regional Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), Regional Band, Regional Courts, Regional Clinic and Police Training School.
(2). Divisions - Three (3) Divisions namely, Bolgatanga, Bawku and Navrongo.
(3). Districts - 12 Districts.
(4). Thirty (30) Police stations including new stations at Widana, Avondago,Maga and Woriyanga.
Policing challenges/gaps in the region
I noted a general shortage of vehicles and reliance on old, over-used vehicles in the region.
In the Bawku general area, I noted a Wrinkle Arrmoured Vehicle, a Light Armoured Patrol Vehicle, a bullion truck used as prisoner carrying vehicle from Bolgatanga to Bawku. I noted patrol vehicles (Pickup + Trooper), and a bus.
I noted that the Bawku West District had only an old Toyota Landcruiser! It was being used 24/7 on patrols in a very difficult terrain. The Police could not afford to use the vehicle to transport men to Snap Check Points and when they were expected at armed robbery prone areas of Widnaba and Sapeliga! A broken down Nissan Navara pickup was repaired for them, but it continued to frequently break down
Suddenly, I began to note that IGP Akufo-Dampare began to intervene with delivery of new Isuzu and Toyota pickup vehicles to the region.
The Police did not have motorcycles - the jungle types - for patrols, especially in Bolgatanga, Bawku Central and Bawku West. On 24th November, 2021, I wrote an article acknowledging that the new IGP Dr. Akufo-Dampare had allocated twenty-five (25) motorcycles to the Upper East Region Police. Unconfirmed reports at the time indicated that "this was the first time in the history of the Police Service that a Police Administration has allocated such a relatively large consignment of motorcycles to the Upper East Region Police."
Mr. Speaker, I can report that the region has been allocated more Visibility Police motorbikes which can be seen in use all over the region, and can even be seen at a remote station like Maga in the Navrongo Police Division.
(3). Communication Gadgets
When I arrived in the region, I noted that the Police did not have gadgets for effective communication for their operations.
The Bawku crisis demonstrated that swift communication within Police deployments: Patrol Teams, Check Points and Static Posts including Police Stations was key to their success! Although the Police had communication systems, they still had some gaps with the apparatus to communicate!
IGP Akufo-Dampare swiftly delivered communication gadgets which made the Police undertake hourly security checks across all formations.
(4). Armoured vehicles
On 26th January, 2023, I wrote an article on the Police Wrinkle Armoured Vehicle which was being pushed to spark on the road in front of the Bawku Central market
Within five days of my report, I noted increased armoured capability for the Police! Two Maverick Armoured Vehicles were delivered from Accra.
As I write, I can report of the presence of three (3) Maverick Armoured Vehicles from the Police FPU, and two (2) Marauder Armoured Vehicles from the Police CTU operating in the region - with a particular focus on the Bawku general area.
(5). Metal detectors
The Police did not have metal detectors for checking arms being smuggled into the region - especially into the Bawku general area. On 25th August, 2023, I run into a Police Team searching vehicles at the White Volta river bridge at Bazua upon a tip-off they a cargo truck was transporting arms to Bawku. I noted that the Police were not using metal detectors.
(6). Market women/truck escorts
There were instances of market women being robbed, especially in the Bawku West, Binduri, and Builsa Districts.
In an article I wrote on 17th October, 2021, titled, " if I were in charge of State Security," I indicated how I had noted the Police providing market women with security during and after their trading activities. Such market escorts were useful from Binaba to Tilli, Sapeliga to Kobore, Atuba to Binduri, Pulimakom/Widana to Missiga, Fumbisi/Sandema to Navrongo.
The Bawku and Doba-Kandiga conflicts increased insecurity for cargo trucks on the Paga - Bolgatanga highway, as well as on the roads from Pulimakom and Kulungu to Bolgatanga; and from Bolgatanga to Walewale.
Positive impact of IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE's Policing methods/tactics in the region
Mr Speaker, I can report on the following positive impact of IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE's policing methods/tactics in the region:
(1). The operational plan for the escort of buses and cargo trucks through the Upper East, North East and Northern Regions road corridor (that is Bawku-Walewale-Tamale). This has for the last three months stopped or minimised the armed attacks on buses which avail themselves to be escorted by the Police.
(2). The introduction of more armoured vehicles, drones, etc., has made it possible for personnel to go to the firing lines and stop irascible gunmen anytime they started sporadic firing in Bawku.
This was not possible before, since the Police had only soft body vehicles.
(3). The introduction of motorbikes makes it easier for Police personnel to move quickly when duty calls. Police Visibility has been enhanced by the introduction of more motorcycles into the region.
(4). Two Regional FPU bases have been established in Bawku.which have increased the manpower needs.
(5). The saturation of Bawku with personnel and equipment has noticeably made it difficult for the combatants to operate in the Bawku general area. It can be observed that in recent times the armed attacks are rather taking place on the outskirts of Bawku (recent reported cases at Bazua, Binduri, Gumyoko, Nayoko No. 2, Adamongsaan, etc.).
(6). There is on-going rehabilitation of Police stations and construction of new ones. Maga, Avondago, Woriyanga, Widana, Pelungu are some of the communities in which new stations have been constructed.
The Bawku Police station used to be an open place which privided easy access to gunmen to run through to kill their targetted victims. The Police have completed a fence wall around the Divisional/District Headquarters. Currently ongoing are fixing of CCTV cameras, building of observation posts, rehabilitation of the barracks for personnel, etc.
(7). The Bawku Police undetake community engagements in the Bawku township and environs. This action has brought policing to the doorsteps of the locals. Recently, the Police had interactions with school children and donated footballs to the kids.
(8). Due to fantastic security outlay, the Samanpid celebration of 2022, in the words of some Bawku Elders was the best in recent years.
(9). Celebration of the Ramadan was so massive due to the enhanced security provided by the Bawku Police. Attendance was so massive that locals could not believe their eyes.
(10). The stabilisation of the Garu-Nakpanduri road by way of the use of an anti-robbery squad has brought relief to commuters traveling between the North East and the Upper East Regions.
(11). President Akufo Addo enjoyed and benefitted from IGP Dampare's Policing methods/tactics in the region
For a region facing peculiar security challenges, it is noteworthy that President Akufo-Addo has been in the region on three occasions in less two years - to address the Ghana Bar Association Conference, to commission a Tono water project, and to celebrate May Day.
If IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE was not on top of his job, and the Police were not cooperating with other Security Agencies, President Akufo Addo could not have comfortably come to the region - and even to be so relaxed on one occssion, to celebrate the birthday of Road Minister Amoako-Attah at the Bolgatanga Akayet Hotel?
Mr. Speaker, in view of the remarkable positive impact of his policing methods/tactics in the Upper East Region, I will speak up anyday, anywhere in support of IGP AKUFO-DAMPARE whether he is NPP or NDC or PWD.
I shall return.
17th September, 2023