A retired army chief, Captain Budu Koomson has warned of the growing militarization of the police service and other security services outside the military.
“Over the period, there has been a gradual militarization of the police. Instead of the police service, it is looking more like a police force,” he said on The Big Issue.
His comments were about the clash between police and military personnel at Tamale last week.
He noted that this growing militarisation traced back to the General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong regime where the police “were to be militarised or weaponised as a counterforce to a possible coup by the military.”
“If you look around; in Germany, UK and even the US, the police force is dressed differently from the military. Now you don’t even see the difference. Now the police force is dressed in combat gear, camouflage fatigues as if they are going to war.”
He stressed that the current aesthetic of the security personnel, “militarises their mentality”.
“Even the Fire Service now ears camouflage uniforms. Where are we all going? We are over militarising and it is straying up… were getting a bit crazy with this camouflage. Even prison service, thy have camouflage fatigues with combat boots. We have police men on beat with desert camouflage combat boots. Where are they going?”
At worst, Captain Budu Koomson indicated the police service could fall on its Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team,
“If it is a SWAT team, get a good big SWAT team that is tactical, but the normal police should engender serenity and not this combat posture that they have.”
Clash of roles
In Captain Budu Koomson’s view, there is the need to reassess Ghana’s security architecture which is “anti-coup”.
“Very often, they bring the military into civil roles. You bring them into civil roes, and they are not trained too well in the civil role… the government has to sit down and start thinking about these things.”
“The way police will talk to a civilians is different from the way a soldier may overreact to a civilian, so we have to have a re-look of our [security] architecture. As it is, it looks like our architecture was anti-coup. Now the coup things are gone. We have to relook at it,” he stated.