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“We have everything under control,” police commander assures Tamale residents ahead of elections



The Tamale Metropolitan Police Command has given firm assurance that it is on top of issues ahead of 2016 general elections described by many as crucial.

An elaborate election violence management plan, the police said has been put in place by the Tamale Metropolitan Police Command to ensure incident free elections on December 7.

The three -point security plan includes pre-election, the election Day and post election issues. The police say their intention is to map up strategies to ensure incident free voting in all polling stations across constituencies such as Tolon, Savelugu, the three constituencies in Tamale and the Sagnarigu constituency.

Presenting the plan to young people and stakeholders in peace in Tamale during ActionAid’s Global Platform, the Metropolitan Police commander, Chief Superintendent Wisdom Lavoe, told representatives of political parties and youth groups to be rest assured that the police will live up to its responsibility.

The commander assurances were in response to concerns raised by a group of young men trained by ActionAid’s Global Platform, in partnership with the Center for Active Learning And Integrated Development (CALID). Some of the issues bother on biases allegedly being exhibited by police officers during elections, preparedness during elections, public trust and civilians using police uniforms during elections, intimidating others, and reporting on violence during elections.

According to Chief Superintendent Lavoe, operational rooms, political investigating desks, briefing security personnel constantly on their conduct on election day, a rapid deployment force, and simulation exercise, among others, have been set up and are ongoing.

The police command, he said, is constantly interacting with the press to ensure that the right information is sent out. An intensive training has been organized for the police to combat riots.

The cops, he explained, are normally used on assistance basis, but in crucial exercises as the 2016 elections, the police have not reached that point yet.

The police will deploy able and physically fit police and other security personnel to all polling stations across the Tamale metropolis, adding that a skeletal number will be kept at the police headquarters to respond to any violence. There will be police patrols in vast areas to ensure peace, he assured.

On whether the police will engage the services of the Community Police Assistant of the Youth Empowerment Agency, chief superintendent Lavoe said the police command has not reach a decision on that.

Detective Ibrahim Okine of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) refuted allegations that the police are being biased. He explained that during such incidents, the command receives several calls and attends to them, depending on who calls first.

He also encouraged residents to report people who either use vehicles or motorcycles with registration numbers to the police early before they commit crimes.

Residents must look for tags, ranks and belts of the people who wear clothes perceived to be police uniforms. It is better to have a restrained posture than to react violently. Don’t react even when you are provoked, detective Okine advised. “Self restraint is the best way in resolving any violent confrontation,” he said.

The police agenda is that, security personnel collaborate with electoral officers to ensure that ballot boxes get to the coalition centers.

Superintendent Lavoe provided telephone numbers 191 and 18555 MTN for citizens to report any suspicious activity. He also gave out the phone number to the police operational command center for people to call when the need arises: 0372022297, 0372025729.

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