The magnificent building which we are opening today gives concrete evidence for all to see that the Government is determined to provide our Police Service not only with the best possible working conditions, but also with the necessary facilities for the maintenance of the highest possible standards of efficiency and good conduct in the service.
The reputation of the Ghana Police Service today is very high and we are proud of that reputation. No doubt our Police had its own colonial mentality. In the past its fond slogan was Betule ya che and the attitude of the Force was one of subservience to the colonial master.
I am happy to note that this attitude is now radically changed and that the Police have the same slogan as other national institutions, namely. "SERVE GHANA NOW."
It is gratifying also to know that the human material which now enters the Police Service is improved admirably. Persons with secondary education and even graduates are finding their way into the Police Service. This augurs well for the nation, as it is important that our Policemen should be well informed and be capable of balanced judgment.
A Police Officer — indeed, every Policeman — is first and foremost a servant of the State and a friend of the people and his life is one of continuous service, faithful, unquestioning and loyal service. We have every right to expect therefore that all our Policemen will dedicate themselves to their work, will be courteous, but firm in all their dealings with the public and will give steady and unswerving loyalty to the State which is theirs to protect. The Police must be vigilant at all times in the interest of national security.
I wish to place on record the fact that our Police Force has, over the years, played a truly memorable role in our task of nation building. It has achieved a high standard of efficiency in the performance of its duties and in the protection of our citizens.
A policeman’s life is not an easy one. Indeed, sometimes it is even dangerous. We therefore expect from our Policemen the highest standards of courage, particularly moral courage, at all times. Every Policeman at some time or another finds himself exposed to the temptation of bribery of some sort. But, he is a poor Policeman indeed who succumbs to such temptation. We are all determined to see that bribery and corruption are eradicated completely from the fabric of our social life. Corruption can undermine our industrial and social development and destroy the drive to raise the living standards of our people.
Our Policemen are the main instruments in the detection and destruction of the evils of bribery and corruption. Policemen should therefore not allow themselves to be contaminated by these evils, but must build up and maintain a reputation of integrity and honesty for the Police Service. Our Police Service must be incorruptible. One of the factors on which is based the strength of the state is the incorruptibility of the Police and the Army. The stability of the State and the strength of the Government depends also upon popular will and mass support, Since the police are the representatives of the Government whom the mass of the people need in their everyday lives, their relationship and popularity with the public is of the utmost importance.
Many visitors to Ghana receive their first impressions of our people from the Police whom they meet on arrival. It is only natural therefore, that such persons, judge our nation by those first impressions. Our Police must remember at all times to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the service of the good name of Ghana.
During the past few years, the Police Service has expanded considerably and grown appreciably in overall strength. I am aware, however, that in view of the rapid technical, economic and social advances being made by this country, a further expansion is necessary in order to ensure that adequate police services are available to the community. It is thus the policy of my Government with the establishment of village Committees and District Councils, to provide Police Services throughout the country, so that every village shall have its own "village policeman."
The efficiency of any Police Service depends, to a large extent, on mobility and the existence of adequate facilities for communication. This is a matter to which I have always attached great importance and the Police Service has therefore been provided with the Armoured Car Squardron, a highly mobile, operational unit which can deal with any threat to Internal Security, promptly and effectively. It has already proved its operational value in several trouble spots and has been a marked deterrent to crime generally.
Progress in the other branches of the Police Service has been equally satisfactory. As late as 1947, Police transport at any Station was limited to one solitary vehicle popularly known as “Go Inside". Since the Party came into power, however, it has tackled the question of Police transport very vigorously, and as a result, the strength of this fleet has increased more than fourfold in the last few years. Highly efficient mechanical workshops exist to provide maintenance facilities, and a considerable amount of workshop equipment has been bought this year.
We have a Police College, designed to train our officer Cadets for appointment in the Commissioned ranks of the Service. The Police College which I opened in temporary accommodation in 1959 is, I am glad to say, now in its own permanent buildings.
We are happy to place the services of this college at the disposal of all other independent African States. Any of our sister countries which would like to send their young Police officers here for training, are most welcome to do so. This will make possible, the interchange of ideas and experiences on the problems of crime detection and the enforcement of law and order which are common to all African States. There is a great advantage in training our Police officers locally, in that all matters that are not related to our particular problems can be eliminated, thus making for more concentrated effort and greater efficiency.
I believe that the Police Organisations of independent African States have a positive contribution to make towards the realization of our goal of a union of all African States. Crime is international and knows no frontiers; and the establishment of a Continental African Police Organisation, parallel to the existing International Police Organisation, will not only facilitate the tracking down and apprehension of criminals and the dissemination of intelligence, but also contribute towards the progress of our effort in the direction of African unity.
What I would like to see is a series of regular conferences organised by the Heads of Police of all independent African States. The aim of these conferences should be to ensure and provide the widest possible mutual assistance between the Police Organisations of all African States and to establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of crimes. I hope that our Commissioner of Police will take the initiative in this matter and play a positive role in organizing the first of such conferences.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in declaring these buildings open, I wish to express the hope that all who will work in them will rededicate themselves to the service of Ghana. I also hope that these fine buildings will be a continual of inspiration to the Commissioner of Police and all those who work under him. I have great pleasure in declaring the new Police Headquarters formally open.