If reports that several members of our police service cannot read or write are anything to go by, then we have a huge problem on our hands.
I am tempted to give the report the benefit of the doubt for now, but the lingering questions that should be asked by every Ghanaian are: how did this come to pass and who allowed it to happen?
The report did not give an exact number thus we are not able to tell with any precision how many of our police officers can’t put pen to paper as the cliché goes. Nonetheless, this is a deficiency that should be immediately addressed by the higher ups in the police service.
There will be defenders of these illiterate police officers who would invariably advance the argument that the primary responsibility of policemen and women is to protect Ghanaian citizens from criminals and other social deviants. Yes, I agree.
But that argument does not wash, it is not just tenable if you consider the fact that police work is much about writing reports as it is about catching criminals. If a police officer cannot write a report to accompany an arrest of any kind, then she or he does not belong in the service.
Be that as it may, what good does it do the Ghanaian society if police officers who have sworn an oath to serve and protect that very society are found wanting simply because they cannot read or write. We expect our officers to live up to our expectations, hopes and aspirations. After all, our taxes pay their salaries.
We live in a modern era, in a progressive democratic society and our police officers ought to have the skillset, that is, to be able to communicate, read and write efficiently so they can discharge their duties without hindrance. That isn’t asking for much.
A senior police officer blames political interference for the recruitment of illiterate police officers. That assertion is as valid as daylight accompanies night. Our politicians think they are entitled; whatever they want they think should be handed over to them on a silver platter.
This is wrong on all fronts; it is corruption, pure and simple. And society ends up paying a heavy price for the folly of our Neanderthal, dimwitted politicians.
Ultimately, two national institutions are responsible for the mess we are seeing in the police service; the education system for producing a bunch of illiterate graduates and the police service for rewarding mediocrity.