Bribe taking on our roads by police officers is no news in Ghana. It is not a perception nor a fact to be proven because, the police officers themselves know that, they collect bribe, ask for it and impose it on drivers. This was the case on the Accra –Ho road on Monday the 18th of February, 2019.
Apart from the official police posts stationed on the road to check traffic offenders, several check points were also mounted on the road by one or more police officers. Drivers plying the road from the Ho Township to neighbouring towns and villages along the stretch of the road had to go through the ordeal of stopping a few times depending on the number of police check points on the road.Each time, the police stopped a driver, they ask him to bring his license, and drivers also seem to understand the language of the police on the road and so, they as we all know, put money from one cedi to Ghs5.00 in it.
Police corruption is a misconduct that had tarnished the image of the police and reduced them to nothing, no wonder; the general public does not “fear” the police officer on the street. The policemen who have been stationed along this major road officially and unofficially are just too good at taking the money to avoid being noticed but passengers are also too clever, smart and intelligent to tell exactly when the police received the money and how he received it no matter how smart the policeman thinks he is.
Very often the checkpoints are just irrelevant and are set up to enable Police Officers cash in on drivers, because they are at the post but are not performing the official function without their self-interest or are not officially stationed at that particular place but by their own volition. The “small money collecting” mentality of officers in uniform must be driven out of the psyche of the police force and it must start from the general public and road users. If we learn to do the right thing on the road, we can compel police officers to do the right thing. Sadly an assertive and confident road user or driver who refuses to pay a bribe is bound to be delayed unnecessarily and so, for them to have their lives back and continue to their destination, they are left with no option than to honour the illegal demand of the police officer.
It is a pathetic scene to see Ghana Police Officers cashing on drivers on the Accra – Ho road do not have any regret, probably, their moral values and self respect has been eroded long ago by the benefits they derive from the illegal act. The drivers are really suffering unduly in the hands of the police officers on the road. It is as though, no one regulates the activities of these officers and probably their superiors do not even know the where about of these officers during the day. Police officers must begin to change their attitude toward the profession so that the citizenry will begin to respect them. There is the need to start a national dialogue on policing along our roads and to help win back some respect for the police profession.
The Police MTTU is solely responsible for road traffic issues however, it will interest you to know that some of these police officers busily cashing in on drivers may not even be under the MTTU. How to identify the MTTU police is one thing we have to know as citizens. From Accra to Ho and back, you could count at least 8 checkpoints in all. If the police are on our roads to ensure drivers obey the road traffic
These and many other issues make the police unattractive, many have rained curses on officers because of this. One of the police officers stopped a car on its way to Accra and demanded the license, the driver while providing his license did not put any money in it which was a good thing he did, one of the police officers make a comment that the officer should collect something from the young driver and that, he collect the same drivers license in the past and the driver never border to come for his license. If Ghana Police Officers cashing on drivers do not stop the act, even discipline drivers may stop obeying the rules that govern the usage of the road.
Probably, bribe collecting on our roads by the police is a curse on the profession or a habit that almost every police officer learns and sees as normal as time goes on. But as this continues at the blind side of the law, we should know that, we are gradually turning our society into one that is becoming lawless right from the officers of law enforcement officers who are breaking the law with impunity.
There have been instances in the last month where police officers have been seen gambling in drinking spots during working hours instead of being at post adding value to this nation devoid of the collection of bribe. It is becoming a reality that, the Ghanaian police officer never get broke. because they always cash in on the citizenry.