POLICING under Dr. Nkrumah, Ghana’s First President was challenging because until then the police high command and middle level commanders were all white men and their duty was to protect colonial interest.
The citizenry did not benefit much from the services of the police since the concentration was on how to protect the railway routes to transport gold, manganese and other natural resources to the city from the hinterlands and other colonial business establishment.
When Dr. Nkrumah became the Prime Minister of Ghana he injected new dynamism into policing and challenged them to protect both whites and blacks in the country and managed to change if from Ghana Police Force to Ghana Police Service when Ghana gained independence in 1957.
The Police Force which the first Ghana government inherited on March 6, 1957 was well equipped with arms, transport and wireless communications, a lot of modern police stations had already been constructed and a good proportion of personnel had been well rehoused in modern buildings.
After independence the government carried out a review of the security forces and decided as part of government policy to continue to expand and improve the police service in order to ensure that public security in the new Ghana would not break down or be undermined by any subversive or dissident forces.
Mr. M. K. N. Collins was the commander of the force the equivalent of the present day Inspector General of Police (IGP). After his death at the end of 1957 the force was commanded for a short period by Mr. A. L. Alexander who was the right hand man and deputy commissioner to Mr. Collens for sometime before his death.
Mr. Alexander commanded the force from the beginning of 1958 and during the period Mr. Erasmus Ransford Tei Madjitey, a Ghanaian became Deputy Commissioner of Police. When Alexander retired in October 1958 a new page in the history of the force was written with the appointed of Mr. Madjitey, as Commissioner of Police, making him the first Ghanaian to hold the appointment.
Dr. Nkrumah’s Africanisation ‘police was pursed to such an extent that by 1958 about 80 per cent of senior police officers were Africans. Majority of the senior post including that of the commissioner and seven out of the eleven posts of Assistant Commissioner of Police were filled by African Police officers. There were at a time three grades of the inspectorate Chief Inspector
Grade I, Inspector Grade 2 and all posts in the force below the rank of Chief Inspector were held by West Africans.
Around that same time the Ghana Police College was established to train police officers. It was established on February 1959, with an initial intake of 14 selected Inspector and Chiefs Inspectors.
Initially, the college was housed in temporary premises at the National Police Training School, Accra. The college moved into its present premises on 20th January 1962.
The college was established by Dr. Nkrumah with the primary objective of providing local training for Inspectors and Chief Inspectors for promotion to the officer corps to man key positions in the service. Before then, Commissioned Officers of the Ghana Police were trained in the United Kingdom.
Entry into the Police college is based mainly on competitive examinations which are to personnel in the inspectorate Rank. There are also a limited number of places offered to University Graduates and Professionals/Specialists who enter the College as “Direct Entrants” after going through an initial Under- Cadet Programme and field attachment.
The Prospective Cadet Officer must be medically and physically fit before entering the College for the 6 month cadet Officer’s Course. On successful completion of the course, the Cadet Officer’s are appointed Assistant Superintendants of Police.
In preparation for the Republic Day celebrations which began on June 29,1960 1,700 Superior Police Officers, inspectors, Non Commissioned Officers and men were drafted from all the regions and camped at the Police Depot. Three companies made up of two escort police platoons each from the Eastern Region, Accra and Ashanti police reserves and three platoons of the general police from the police depot were selected and daily rehearsals was started for the celebrations, Arm Forces parade held on July 2, 1960 and the others were deployed for crowd control duties.
From the first day of July, 1960 when Ghana a republican state within the Commonwealth the Ghana Police Service was removed from the structures of the Civil Service and its name changed from a Police Force to a Police Service in 1962 after the country had become a republic the change was effected under the constitution”.
Another opportunity came in the history of the Ghana Police Force to demonstrate those qualities which were characteristics of its achievement in the past and this was during visit of Queen Elisabeth in November 1961 where the Commissioner of the police Mr. R. T. Madjitey assumed direct commend of the police throughout the period and also exercised command from his Forward Headquarters.
President Kwame Nkrumah’s life was threatened again at the Flagstaff House by a police assassin on January 24, 1964 after he had escaped unhurt some months earlier when a bomb was thrown and exploded near his car at Lulungugu in the Upper Region on August 1, 1962 but one incident which seemed to have set back the steady developmeqt of the Police Service was an attempted assassination of the President Nkrumah bya policemen as reported in the Daily Graphic of January 6, 1964.
This attempt by Constable Kwame Nkrumah Ametewee, a policeman to murder President Kwame Nkrumah was blamed on the police which made them to be mistrusted and this led t9 the withdrawal of the police from the Flagstaff House.
Osagyefo’s reaction towards the police was not hidden as he instructed that all arms and ammunitions in stock at the depot be handed over to the military authorities and this was carried out swiftly.
Forty — eight hours later the Commissioner of the Police Mr. Erasmus R. T. Madjitey, his two deputies and seven other senior officers were removed from their posts in the police service on the command of Osagyefo, the President and Mr. J. W. K. Harlley Assistant Commissioner of Police was appointed as acting Commissioner of police with two other officers, Mr. B.A Yakubu and Mr. A K. Biney all superintendents as Acting Deputy Commissioners.
Ironically the Ghana Armed Forces in Co- operation with the Ghana Police Service headed by Mr. Harlley, then Commissioner of Police toppled President Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP government in a coup d’etat on February 24, 1966.
It was not by chance that four senior police officers became members of the National Liberation Council (NLC) on March 2, 1966.
Mr. Harlley and his three police colleagues knew much about the President and the internal security of the country and their knowledge was used to bring the coup into fruition.
Mr. Harlley retired voluntarily after 29 years of service and had he was succeeded by Mr. B. A Yakubu who commanded the service from September 19, 1969.
“Police In Ghana” Written By J.B. Pokoo- Aikings. Courtesy, the Ghana Police Service.