Popular perceptions about the Ghana Police Service (GPS) are far from flattering. Police are one of the most ubiquitous organisations of the society.
The policemen, therefore, happen to be the most visible representatives of the government. In an hour of need, danger, crisis and difficulty, when a citizen does not know, what to do and whom to approach, the police station and a policeman happen to be the most appropriate and approachable unit and person for him.
The police are expected to be the most accessible, interactive and dynamic organisation of any society.
Their roles, functions and duties in the society are natural to be varied, and multifarious on the one hand; and complicated, knotty and complex on the other.
Broadly speaking the twin roles, which the police are expected to play in a society are maintenance of law and maintenance of order.
However, the ramifications of these two duties are numerous, which result in making a large inventory of duties, functions, powers, roles and responsibilities of the police organisation.
However, there are some concerns from the public that If aspects of the service are permeated with such weakness – both structural, professional and of a nature involving its personnel to what extent can the GPS fulfil its mandate? Several reasons account for the almost ‘love-hate’ nature of ‘police-public’ relations.
A recent survey conducted by the University of Ghana in 2001 aptly captured the nature of these relations. While the public accepted the need for an efficient and friendly service and were in certain instances welcoming of the services provided by the Police, there was an underlying sense of mistrust and discomfort.
In attempting to achieve the broad objective that was set would mean an approach that examines the structure and organisation of the force and the operational instructions under which it functions.
What is remarkable about the Ghana Police Service especially when one takes a long-term historical perspective of the development of the Service has been the virtual ability or willingness of successive administrations – both the Police leadership and the political leadership to implement the recommendations of the diverse committees that have been established.
One of the best Inspector General of Police to have ever been at the helm of affairs of this noble service is the man Peter Tenganabang Nanfuri, he is also the 4th Paramount Chief of the Jirapa Traditional Area with the title Naa Ansoleh Ganaa II. He was In office from October 1, 1996 – January 21, 2001.
Peter Nanfuri was born at Jirapa, a town in the upper West of Ghana on 12th October 1942. Nanfuri studied at the University of Ghana, Legon where he obtained B.A. degree in Political Science and a law degree.
Nanfuri worked in various capacities within the Ghana Police Service. He was once the Director of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI)1986 in that deals with state security related issues.
In 1996, he was appointed as the Inspector General of Police. Towards the end of his service as IGP, he came under severe pressure due to the serial murder of some women in Ghana. He was replaced as IGP by John Kufuor, shortly after he became President of Ghana.
On July 23, 2005, Peter Nanfuri was enskinned as the 4th Paramount chief of the Jirapa Traditional Area.
I know this my article will cause many police officers who were present during the bright days of Mr. Peter Tenaganabang Nanfuri as the Inspector-general of Police with nostalgic memories to shake their heads and drop some tears for the brave and charismatic leader he was.
He being the leader demonstrated a lot of faith and commitments to the transformation agenda first and all others followed.
Ideally many IGPs have come after Mr. Peter Nanfuri left the reigns of the police service as the Inspector-general of Police some 21 years ago. At least some 9 IGPs have come to pass including Elizabeth Mills-Robertson who acted briefly as the first woman IGP to have ruled the police service but the question has always been, will there be an IGP like Mr. Peter Tenaganabang Nanfuri? Can his achievements be equalled by succeeding IGPs?
Prior to the appointment of Mr. Peter Nanfuri as the IGP, police officers were receiving their salaries on table tops. I mean police officers queue at the pay offices across the country to receive their salaries. Many police officers at that time did not even know how much they were receiving at the time.
A police officer could travel from his station only to come to the pay office and be told that the paymaster had travelled. Those were the days that police pay office was one of the lucrative offices because paymasters and their staffs were enriching themselves with the sweat of police officers. Immediately Peter Nanfuri became the IGP, he disbanded the table top pay system and had all the police officers at the pay offices across the country investigated.
Some were dismissed, a lot more were reduced in rank and all of them were transferred from the pay offices. Many police officers who were stationed at pay offices blamed Mr. Peter Nanfuri for dwindling their fortunes. Some even committed suicide after they were transferred from the pay office.
ATTEMPTS OF RESIGNING OVER DETECTIVE ALLOWANCE FOR FOR ALL POLICE OFFICERS
To Mr. Peter Nanfuri, every police officer is a detective and investigator so quickly he gave 33.5% detective allowance across board. This 33.5% brought a bad blood between him and some state officials because they were found constantly trying to interfere in the affairs of the police. To Mr. Peter Nanfuri, either they implement it or he resigns. The officials quickly backed down and never interfered in the affairs of the police service again.
Do not talk about uniforms and boots because Mr. Peter Nanfuri tops all. I hope you have heard of Nanfuri shoe and coats? If you haven’t, ask. They will tell you what Nanfuri shoes and coats were. They were not only costs and shoes but were of high quality and and standard. Some police officers who witnessed the reigns of Mr. Peter Nanfuri as the IGP still use some of the shoes and coats he supplied them when he was the IGP.
During his time, boats, shoes, uniforms, socks, polish, torches, ranks, buttons and everything that the police officer needs to appear neat and smart were in regular supply and in abundance. Supplies were not concentrated in cities and towns as police officers who were serving in the villages received their share of the cake. They were evenly distributed.
INTOLERANCE TO ATTACK ON POLICE OFFICERS AND POLICE STATIONS.
Mr. Peter Nanfuri hated defeat for police. He doesn’t take that and was very intolerant to attacks on police officers and police stations. He once descended heavily on Akwatia after they attacked some police officers and beat them up. Several other police stations that were attacked during the days of Mr. Peter Nanfuri were either closed down or the police returned with equal force to put fear in them.
The older generation of police officers will remember the story of Kofi or Kweku Ninja where some police officers were killed at somewhere Ablekuma. After the police officers were killed, a foundation was quickly dug and a building was raised on them but Mr. Peter Nanfuri being a former detective himself together with other police officers were able to locate where the police officers were buried, exhumed it and had all the perpetrators arrested and brought to book.
CHECKS ON POLITICAL INDISCIPLINE AND POLITICISATION OF THE POLICE.
During the days of Mr. Peter Nanfuri, politicians were politicians and police officers were police officers. Politicians knew their limits and police officers also knew their limits too. They do not crisscross one another. This is a man whom we are told could tell almighty J.J Rawlings to control his ministers else he will have them arrested.
If indeed, it is true that Mr. Peter Nanfuri could tell Jerry John Rawlings, the man who appointed him as the IGP to control his ministers else he will have them arrested, then Mr. Peter Nanfuri does not have only “balls” but “balls” that are made of steel that does not get softened by political pressure. I have already talked about some officials and how Mr. Peter Nanfuri silenced them when they tried to poke their nose into the affairs of the police. There are several other instances.
His later part of administration was marred with the serial killings of women but holistically Mr. Peter Tenaganabang Nanfuri succeeded as an IGP and still remains darling to many police officers who witnessed his tenure of office as the IGP.
Many police officers, both senior and junior ranks will feel nostalgic after reading this write-up of mine and be wondering a lot about Mr. Peter Nanfuri because he etched his name on plates of gold before he left the reigns of the police service as the Inspector-general of Police.
He wasn’t a perfect human being as some have personal reservations about but he still stands tall when it comes to the welfare of his personnel. Question, has the police service progressed after the days of Mr. Peter Tenaganabang Nanfuri or retrogressed?
This question has no tag but whoever the cup fits let him wear it.