Authorities of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) say they have reprimanded some Community Police Assistants (CPAs) in the Upper East region for talking to the press about some challenges said to be seriously hampering their operations.
It would be recalled that radioxyzonline a few weeks ago reported that officers recruited by the YEA in the region were ill-equipped with some of the blue-shirted cops saying they had to personally borrow trousers from the regular police officers to work.
A number of the officers, captured in ordinary shoes on duty in some districts, ascribed their improper dressing to the fact that they were provided with only one pair of boots each and that the footwear was also too oversized for patrols. The recruits, some of whom said their only boots had become tattered underneath and that the materials used for the uniforms had faded too soon because they were of poor quality, also complained they did not have means of transport and raincoats to facilitate their work particularly in the raining season.
The officers did not register their complaints to the press in secret. They did so openly in front of YEA authorities only after the Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations at the YEA, Luke Atazona, during his tour of some districts including Talensi and Nabdam, had asked them to feel free to voice their disquiets to the journalists present.
But speaking Wednesday when a nucleus from among the 409 CPAs in the region was assembled at the regional police headquarters in Bolgatanga to receive free bicycles for their operations, authorities at the YEA announced that the same officers who spoke to the media about their challenges had been disciplined for doing so.
“Instead of being agents of peace, some of you are becoming agents of terror by granting interviews to the media and talking to everybody. The media, as they say, are there for us; but the structure of every organisation must be respected. And I believe those officers in charge have been reprimanded. My able [YEA] District Director for Talensi handled that on our behalf,” Abdallah Salifu, Deputy Upper East Regional YEA Director who himself was present at the time the officers were encouraged to pour out their frustrations, told the gathering Wednesday with a satisfied look.
Deputy Minister ‘whips’ reprimanded recruits
The Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem, who graced the bicycle presentation ceremony and who, perhaps, was oblivious of the fact that the reprimanded officers spoke to the media only after YEA authorities had emboldened them to openly do so, also ‘cracked the whip’ on the recruits.
He spelt out his disappointment at a toddling pace when he took his turn to address them, saying: “The first thing about discipline is not to talk to the general public about the institution for which you work. In every institution, you have [a] chain of command and it is not everybody who talks about that institution. If you are provided with logistics that are not enough, you should know who to report the matter to.”
Continuing, the Deputy Minister had more troubling words for the officers, which he did not hold back. Whilst affirming that what they did was alien to the police service, he suggested that the officers should be recalled for retraining.
“I don’t know whether the YEA Director heard this. But I will suggest that if he heard it, then, those guys who were talking should be sent back for retraining to understand certain things, probably, they missed out during training. I believe that you have never heard a police officer complaining in the open. And if you are mini-police, then you have to go by those standards. At times, when we gloss over some of these infractions, in the end we have a monster to deal with. And so, somebody who is supposed to be a peace officer now becomes a terror officer,” he said.
Recruits still spotted in ordinary wears at parade
For a momentous presentation ceremony that also attracted Municipal and District Chief Executives from Bolgatanga, Talensi, Nabdam and Garu, a well-dressed parade of the officers was expected at the regional police headquarters.
But in the full glare of reporters’ cameras was a parade spectacle packed with black trousers already turned brown in four months, a number of ordinary shoes and some berets that did not fit well.
YEA authorities told newsmen at the ground efforts were being made to supply the recruits with more boots and uniforms. The assurance is an echo of a guarantee the agency’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations had given Starr News in August this year that the officers would be supported with more logistics before the end of the year.
“All of them that we have employed and deployed have at least one uniform and they have their boots. However, we know that one uniform is not enough and we are currently trying to procure. We have even started the process of procuring additional uniform for them. At the moment they have one pair (of boots) and we are going to get them reflective jackets. We are just following the Procurement Law. I think that they will get it before the end of the year,” Mr. Atazona had assured.
Openly confronted by radioxyzonline at the close of the ceremony over the reported disciplining of the recruits, Mr. Salifu, perhaps having realised that public bashing would trail the said action, tried to reverse his earlier public announcement, saying the officers were not reprimanded and that the announcement was only meant to caution the CPAs against speaking to the press unauthorised. The development has left a question hanging unanswered in the minds of the public as to why the officers had to face any form of sanction from the same authorities who authorised them to speak to the media.
Source: radioxyzonline.com/Files from starr