General News of Thursday, 25 August 2016
Renovation has started on three police stations vandalised by irate residents of the Afram Plains area of the Eastern Region last week.
The police stations,located at Donkorkrom,Tease and Maame Krobo, are being renovated by the Kwahu Afram Plains North District Assembly.
The police stations were vandalised when the local people clashed with the police over the escape of two policemen who were allegedly involved in an operation to rob a bullion van at Maame Krobo.Following the attack, the Police Adminstration threatened to close down the police stations until they were renovated at the expense of the people.
Uneasy calm Meanwhile, there is uneasy calm in the area days after the standoff between the locals and police personnel.
Even though the police said calm had been restored, there was heavy police presence, with reinforcement from the regional and national headquarters.
The reinforcement became necessary following the riot after two policemen allegedly shot dead a bullion van driver with the aim of looting the van.
In their attempt to run away, they were given a hot chase and arrested.
The two policemen and their civilian accomplice were being transferred to Koforidua and Nkawkaw when they escaped, a development that angered the local people who went on the rampage, destroying police properties.
The roofing and frontage of the charge office at the Donkorkrom Police Station were destroyed, while the new building of the divisional headquarters, with office equipment, as well as police vehicles and a fire engine, were vandalised.
The mistrust between the people and the police had deepened as both sides continued to take entrenched positions.
While the people accused police personnel in the area of being behind a number of robbery cases, the police, on the other hand, accused the people of unlawful attack on them and expressed the desire to leave the area.
The police contended that if they were all criminals, they would not have arrested the two and felt the people were not fair to them.
But the residents were resolute in their demand that most of the current police personnel in the area be transferred, accusing them of compromising their professionalism.
The police personnel and their families complained that they were unable to move to town as the people kept shouting and hooting at them, calling them names such as armed robbers and thieves.
The District Police Commander, Superintendent Thomas Osei-Ababio, said the mistrust between the two was unhealthy and outlined a number of activities to rebuild the trust and confidence of the people in the police.
He said the administration was liaising with opinion leaders and elders of the town to “build bridges” and ensure that peaceful co-existence between the police and the people was maintained.
Mr Osei-Ababio said the Catholic Bishop of the area, the Most Rev. Gabriel Kumojie, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary aspirant, Ms Betty Krosbi Mensah, had interacted with the police personnel to boost their morale “because morale is at its lowest ebb among the personnel”.
He said the interaction between the police administration led by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) on one hand and the opinion leaders and religious leaders in the town on the other was part of efforts to build bridges.
Mr Osei-Ababio, however, believed that building trust was a two-way affair and the people in the community should be seen as also contributing towards it.
He said another area to be considered was the enforcement of community policing and appealed to the people in the community to feel free to approach the police with their concerns for redress.
The district commander revealed that since the incident occurred, no one in the community had gone to the police station to lodge a complaint.