Permanent police protection for MPs untenable – Fritz Baffour

A former Chairman of Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee, Fritz Baffour, has kicked against renewed calls by Members of Parliament to have around the clock security protection.

The former Ablekuma South MP, who served as Minister for Information and Tourism, argued that the associated cost of the demands being made by the Parliamentarians is rather too high.

An armed robbery attack on Nhyiaso MP, Kennedy Kankam in his Kumasi residence, reignited the calls by the legislators for each Member to be detailed with 24-hour police protection.

But Fritz Baffuor urged the MPs to consider an alternative arrangement.

“The thing is for us to resource the police force and make it more proactive so that they can patrol and keep an eye on VIPs. What Parliament should sit down and do is to think of how they can have some kind of security men paid for by either Parliament or from their salaries. We don’t have the resource to put police officers at the beck and call of our MPs.”

“We have 275 MPs but the police are under-resourced. So it will be very difficult to assign 275 policemen and if we are going to assigned them 24 hours, then it is going to be two policemen per MP. So we are talking about almost 550 policemen which is quite a large chunk of our police force to a permanent role of guarding MPs”, he added.

Members of Parliament have renewed calls for more police protection.

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, says the government must take urgent steps to beef up security for Members of Parliament.

“The country should make a determined effort to provide security for Members of Parliament. We must be very decisive about this because we cannot continue to endanger the lives of Members of Parliament. Many of us have suffered robberies, highway robberies because many of us are not accompanied by security personnel. Two of our colleagues were attacked by armed robbers at Nsawam and Suhum, one other, between Koforidua and Bonsu junction. Two of them were shot at but the robbers missed it. Mr. Speaker, I think the time has come for the state to take a decision on the security of Members of Parliament,” he said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery has promised to provide security for MPs if they give details of their residential addresses.

“Let me assure all of you that we are interested in providing security for parliamentarians within the context of enhanced security for the whole country. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any contradictions at all in trying to get parliamentarians security. I have made that attempt and I believe that now that it has come up again, I will suggest the Parliamentary Sub – Committee on Defence and Security be given that task to work with the Minister of Interior and the commanders or the various security agencies to work the detail,” he stated.

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