The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akufo Dampare, has justified the decision of the service to centralise all communications. He said it is in line with international best practice and forms part of the police administration’s strategy for redefining its engagement with the public.
Dr. Dampare said the decentralised information sharing that was earlier practiced was becoming problematic for the service, especially as the information shared was usually without all the relevant facts, thereby tarnishing the image of the service. He said it was also a situation that was creating disaffection among the public, hence the need to reverse the trend.
“We’ve had a system where when you get up in the morning everybody across the country, at times district division and regional level, granting interviews on matters of police from a perspective that at times is not informed by the full facts, and at the end of it all, when the facts come, the organisation looks unpresentable, and it keeps dampening the spirit of the organisation and continues to snare the image of the service in bad light. So we agree that POMAB needs to redefine it as part of transformational agenda, such that at the end of the day, before you speak to a matter, be sure that you have the full facts, so that gradually we will create a system where something happens and the whole community, the whole people, will say that until the police have come out, we don’t believe what is being said.”
Dr. Dampare said the decision was not a unilateral one he took but one in which extensive deliberations were done among regional commanders and all Public Relations officers of the service.
“This matter is not the invention of Dampare; it is something that we’ve looked at and got all the commanders at all levels involved and got their inputs. I quite remember a police management with regional commanders meetings were held, and all the PROs were brought, and they deliberated on this, and we all saw that this is good for the organisation.”
The police service has come under media scrutiny after it issued a statement to centralise information sharing. The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, for instance, sustained a massive campaign for the service to take a second look at the directive.
The Ghana Journalists Association, GJA, last year, in a statement signed by its President, Albert Dwumfour, called on the Police Administration to review its stance. The statement stated that although there could be genuine reasons for the directive to have a centralised information sharing system, it was counter-productive and could create room for speculation, misinformation, and disinformation.
The Central Regional branch of the Association also called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo-Dampare, to review the centralised communication directive between the police and the media, as it could have a negative impact on the free flow of information between the police and the media.
Addressing the issue for the first time when he appeared before the ad-hoc committee probing the leaked audio tape, which seeks to oust him, Dr. Akuffo Dampare noted that the practice has sanitised the media space. He said currently, the information shared in the public domain are full facts and consequently, the service is gradually winning the confidence, respect, and trust of the public.
“You will see that in recent times, information from police across all our media space is delivered on matters as soon as we have the full facts. That will inform the public to continue to deepen their trust, confidence, and respect for us.
Adding on, he said, “So we are living international best practice. There’s nothing that we are doing that is not informed by our strategy to transform and become the best institution in the country and reference point for the world.”