If you look at the numbers, there is nothing you can do but to recoil in shock; five police officers gunned down in the past month alone. This brings the number of police officers killed in the line of duty to 30 this year, according to official figures released by authorities.
Considered from every perspective, the numbers are not only depressing, they are also an eye opener; in other words, they reveal a lot about the state of affairs in the country. Truth be told, we are living in a heightened state of insecurity. And opportunistic criminals, emboldened by the lax environment deem it appropriate to declare an open season on our police officers.
In fact, better armed than our police officers, criminals have become so brazen that they harbor no qualms about gunning down our police officers in cold blood. Take the execution style murders of two police officers in Kasoa a fortnight ago for example; the killings were ample testimony of the depravity and audacity of armed criminals.
They are callously poking their nose at authorities, in this case, police officers, taunting them and daring them to come for a fight. “After all, we are better armed than you are,” the criminals seem to say.
The killings also laid bare one distinct truth about government, that is, it’s shocking inability to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of unrepentant criminals while at the same time failing dismally to arm our police officers, thus making them easy targets for trigger happy armed bandits.
So, you can imagine the relief felt by many of us and the dismay of others when the IGP announced that henceforth officers of the Motor Traffic Unit will be armed to at least provide them with the means to fight back when they are attacked by dangerous criminals.
The two officers who were killed in Kasoa at the time of their untimely and senseless deaths were reportedly not armed. As usual the IGP’s proposal is being fervently resisted in some quarters, namely by the Bureau of Public Safety, a local NGO, by a few security experts and of all people, by the ever-irritating MP for North Tongu, Samuel Ablakwa.
The arguments put forward by Ablakwa and his like-minded fellows are that armed police officers on traffic duty will pose a threat to the public because of the poor relations between the two.
Ablakwa maintains that our police don’t need bullet-proof vests but rather body cameras. His assertion is grossly misleading and should be discounted immediately.
Hogwash, absolute nonsense, I say to these arguments. They won’t stand scrutiny if examined closely. For one thing, police officers around the world these days are armed to the teeth largely because the world has changed drastically.
Terrorism and other heinous crimes are the primary reasons why. And these officers have bullet proof vests and body cameras in addition to their sophisticated weapons. Fortunately, the combination has prevented the senseless and needless killings of police officers.
Why can’t we provide our police officers with the same means to battle the bad guys? Our police officers aren’t asking for much. Giving them the means to protect themselves and the general public at large is the only thing the country can do to demonstrate its appreciation for the splendid and important service police departments around the country are providing.