Mrs Justice Margaret Welbourne, a Justice of the Appeal Court of Ghana, has urged the Police and other law enforcement agencies to adopt current global best practices to make their services more efficient and effective.
She said presently, the cardinal attributes of policing had moved from physical features such as height, weight and brute strength, to ethical character, excellent interpersonal, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills in the administration of justice as a whole.
“There is a paradigm shift towards community policing, which is thought to be more pro-active towards addressing the conditions that give rise to public safety issues as crime, social disorder and fear of crime,” she said.
Mrs Welbourne, who represented the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, gave the advice at the two-day early Board meeting of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP), which opened in Accra on Monday.
The meeting, jointly hosted by the Police Ladies Association (POLAS), Ghana Immigration Ladies Association (IMILAG) and the Judicial Service Ladies Association (JUSLAG), has women in law enforcement from 30 countries converging, to network and plan for the training and professional development of their members.
Mrs Welbourne, however, said it was no coincidence that the meeting was taking place on the heels of the celebration of the International Women’s Day, adding that, it was a fitting recognition of the invaluable contributions of women globally.
She insisted that it was also a reminder that “we can only make the world a better place if we provide opportunities for education and personal development for our young girls and, uplift more and more women from the shackles of poverty and deprivation”.
She, acknowledged the tremendous role women in police and their counterparts in the other security agencies have been playing over the years to ensure peace, security and justice, as we as the admirable contributions of the IAWP since its establishment some 102 years ago.
The IAWP, which was established in Los Angeles, California USA in 1915 by the first few American police women as an International Organisation, had since been providing professional development, mentoring, training, networking and recognition for female law enforcement officers and civilian support staff, as well as increases in the number of women in policing.
Mrs Welbourne said despite the achievements so far, there were numerous challenges that confronted the justice system which, included the maintenance of high levels of ethical principles and professionalism among service personnel, and urged the Board to spend time in discussing and suggesting ways of minimising, if not eradicating them.
She encouraged members of the Association to look beyond the numerous challenges they faced in the male-dominated profession, and strive for excellence, giving the assuring that the recommendations made by the Board after the meeting would be implemented for the efficient and effective law enforcement in particular, and the administration of justice as a whole.
The Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Prosper Kwame Agblorh, who represented Mr David Asante Apeatu, the Inspector General of Police, said Ghana was privileged to be the second country in the continent aside South Africa, to host the IAWP Early Board meeting for the first time, which, was hoped to further pave way for the hosting of the Association’s major Annual Training Conferences in the near future.
He commended the present and past leadership of the IAWP, for expanding the membership from just a handful from the onset, to more than 60 countries. He stated that the enormous contributions of women in policing could not be underestimated; citing how some women in the Ghana Police Service had risen through the ranks and now playing key roles including holding high command positions.
COP Agblorh said the current Transformational Agenda of the Ghana Police Service was anchored on a vision to become a “world-class Police Service capable of delivering Planned, Democratic, Protective and Peaceful Services up to standards of International best practice”.
The Service aims at being counted among the top 10 Police Organisations globally within the next ten years, and the leading one in Africa by 2020. Ms Margaret Shorter, the President of IAWP, commended the Ghana Police, Immigration and the Judicial Service Associations respectively for the growth in their membership.
She spoke about the importance of developing the capacities of women and giving then a fair opportunity to exhibit their talents in the society. She urged the various groups to progress beyond their virtual platforms to meeting where they could physically network and share their best practices.
COP Mrs Beatrice Vib-Sanziri, the President of the Police Ladies Association and Director in Charge of Human Resource Development, said women in Ghana’s Service, have risen from an initial number of 12 to 8,630 out of the total workforce of 33,000 representing about 26 per cent, which was one of the best in the sub-region.