Prof. Gyampo Writes: Timid Police Officers And Abuse Of Sirens
1. I have once raised the security threat posed to national security by our unbridled use of sirens at a certain high level meeting. But it seems the problem remain unresolved.
2. On my way from my hometown three days ago in the evening, I saw a vehicle with a siren and the usually red and blue lights on. The driver was driving at a top speed and never stopped at any of the Police Barriers and check points.
3. I decided to drive very fast to observe the conduct of the driver and Police Officers at the Barriers. While the driver never stopped at any of the barriers, the Police at some of the check points, actually saluted the car without knowing the identity of whoever was in it, whether a criminal or suicide bomber.
4. I later signaled (by flashing the high lights violently) whoever was driving the car to stop. Upon several attempts the driver pulled off the road and not knowing the reason for my incessant signals, he stopped.
5. I got off my car, walked to him, introduced myself and asked who he was too. He mentioned his name. Then I greeted his boss who was relaxed at the back seat waiting for me to tell them why I incessantly signaled them to stop.
6. I politely asked why they never stopped at any of the Police Check Points. I politely asked why they had the siren and the blue and red lights on. I asked whether the boss was the President or a Minister or any of the designated officials who could use a siren.
7. Shamefully, the boss was just an ordinary citizen like myself. So I threatened that I will cause his arrest at the next Check Point if he failed to put off the siren and refused to stop at the Check Points.
8. The boss obliged and they turned off the siren. But I kept asking myself why and how anyone can install a siren on his car in Ghana. Is a siren part of vehicle decoration? Why attract needless attention when you are not by law, supposed to flash red and blue lights on your car? What for?
9. I am told, now, even some trotro drivers have installed sirens on their cars. But I never believed it until this morning, when I went to fix one bulb of my car that had gone off. After changing the bulb, the guy told me he had a siren that he could fix on my car for as cheap as 500 cedis. Then he told me he had fixed several sirens for many people who clearly had no business having sirens on their vehicles. I was surprised, but understood why some people ignorantly blow their sirens even when they are going to shop at the mall.
10. The issue of who qualifies to use a siren must be revisited and there should be a sustained public education about this. I know a former National Chairman of a Political Party whose Personal Assistant once used a siren when she was attending a private wedding and the Police had no balls to stop her vehicle!
11. Some of our Police Officers are too timid. They get jittery at the mere sound of a siren and flash of the blue and red light. Consequently we all can imagine the number of times criminals and armed robbers have fooled them with their sirens. Any suicide bomber can flash a red and blue light to be able to enter a gathering and blow everyone up. Any murderer can kill, and flee with a siren. Any nation wrecker can smuggle ammunitions and other contraband goods by simply blowing a siren.
12. I am well aware that a lot of people try hard to make themselves important after a new regime and government has been voted to power by fixing sirens on their cars even when they aren’t supposed to do so by our laws. We must however be mindful of the fact that the proliferation of sirens is a threat to national security and the earlier those in charge act to bridle its use, the better for all of us.
Yaw Gyampo A31, Prabiw PAV Ansah Street Saltpond & Suro Nipa House Kubease Larteh-Akuapim
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