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Police Service in retrospectpdf print preview print preview
07/03/2007Page 1 of 1

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Police Service in retrospect

 Story:  Compiled by:  MARY MENSAH

PROFESSIONAL policing was introduced by the British Colonial Authorities to the Gold Coast, now the Republic of Ghana, in 1821.  Prior to that, policing or maintenance of law and order was organized by the traditional authorities such as the local headmen and chiefs, who employed unpaid messengers to carry out the executive and judicial functions in this respective communities.

History indicated that police force in the country started with a handful of troops kept by a committee of merchants to guard their areas of operations (Forts and Castles) even before the Gold Coast was colonized.

In 1844, the British took over those troops and named them the Gold Coast Militia and Police.  The troops mainly performed guard duties at the forts/castles.  Some were also attached to the courts for investigations and servicing of summons.

When the British Government assumed full sovereignty over the Gold Coast in 1871, the Force had only ninety (90) men.  This was reinforced with 400 Hausa tribesmen from Northern Nigeria and other tribesmen from Sierra Leone.  In 1876, the Force was named the “Gold Coast Constabulary”.

In 1894, the Institution of Policing was formalized with the passing of the Police Ordinance, which gave legal authority for the formation of a civil police force.

In 1902, the force was split into General, Escort, Mines and Railway Police, and this was legalized by the Police (Amendment) Ordinance of 1904.  The Marine Police was formed in 1916 but disbanded in 1942 and replaced with Customs Excise and Preventive Service.

In 1948, the Police Reserves Unit was formed to combat riotous mobs, following the 1948 riots in the country.


By 1952, a large number of Africans
were enlisted into the
Police Force as Junior Officers.


THE Wireless and Communications Unit was formed in 1950 with the formal opening of the Police Information Room in Accra by the then Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Charles Noble Arden Clark, in June 1950.

With the attainment of self-rule, the first President of Ghana appointed Mr. E.R.T. Madjitey, Commissioner of Police, as the first Ghanaian head of the Police Force.

Since then there have been 30 Inspector-Generals of Police, who have seen to the successful administration of the Ghana Police Service.

From the very beginning they were referred to as Commissioner of Police (COP), but as time went on the title changed to Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and has remained so to date.

The first Commissioner of Police was Major A.W. Kitson, whose administration spanned the period 1893 – 1910, E.V. Collings, 1910 – 1915, Lt. Col. H.W.M. Bamford, 1924 – 1938; Capt. Eric Nottingham, 1938 – 1944; Capt. R.W.H. Ballantyne, 1944 – 1948; Major M.K.N. Collens, 1949 – 1957 and was in office when Ghana attained independence.

Mr. Arthur Lewin Alexander was the head of the police Force from 1958 – 1959 and was the last British to have occupied that position.

WITH the attainment of independence, the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, appointed Mr. E.R.T. Madjitey, a Commissioner of Police, as the first Ghanaian head of the Police Force, and for that matter the first Ghanaian IGP and he was in office from 1958 to 1964.

He was followed by P.W.K. Halley, 1965 to 1969; B.A. Yakubu, June to September, 1969; R.D. Ampaw, 1971 to 1972; J.H. Cobbinah, 1972 to 1974.  Mr. Ernest Ako was one IGP who held three key positions at the time.  He was also the Minister of the Interior and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC).

Mr. B.S.K. Kwakye, 1978 -79; C.O. Lamptey, June to November 1979; F.P. Kyei, 1979-1981; R.K. Kugblenu, 1981-84, S.S. Omane, 1984-1986; C.K. Dewornu, 1986-1989, J.Y.A. Kwofie, 1990-1996; P.T. Nanfuri,1996-2001; Ernest Owusu Poku, January to July 2001, and Nana Owusu Nsiah, 2001 to 2005.

The Present Inspector-General of Police is Mr. Patrick Karteng Acheampong, and his administration has laid emphasis on quality human resource training.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID)

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was formed in 1921 with the Fingerprint Section being fully operational in 1922.  Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) J.N. Franklin headed it in 1948 and since then 29 persons, made up of both British and Ghanaians, have headed the department, with DCOP David Asante-Apeatu as the current head.

The CID personnel wear plain clothes and they are employed as specialists with expertise in various aspects of crime detection.  The Mission and Vision of the CID is to ensure a proactive and provisional approach to the prevention and detection of crime, protection of life and property and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.

By 1952, a large number of Africans were enlisted into the Police Force as junior officers.  The women branch of the service was then established at the time to be responsible for Juvenile crimes and offences committed by women.

The attainment of Republican status in 1960 saw the changing of the name Ghana Police Force into Ghana Police Service and with the enactment of the Police Force (amendment) Decree, 1974 9NRCD.303), THE GHANA Police Service was removed from the control of the Public Service Commission and restored to the status of a self-accounting organization, resulting in the creation of district, divisional and unit administrations to enable service to cope with the ever increasing demands of the public.

National Headquarters

The Inspector-General of Police is assisted in the day-to-day administration and operation of the service by two (2) Deputy Inspector-Generals of Police i.e.  Deputy IGP/Administration and Deputy IGP in Charge of Operations.

A chapter was written in the annals of the Ghana Police Service in 2002 with the appointment of Mrs. Elizabeth Mills-Robertson as the first female Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Administration.  She is the first female police officer to rise to this level, a step away form the topmost position of IGP.

All police functions, organization, personnel management and welfare have been divided into 10 schedules, with each schedule under the Command of the Commissioner of Police.


The structure of the Ghana Police Service has expanded over the years with the creation of new units to address to increasing demands of governance and public safety.

The day-to-day administration of the Police Service is under the unified command and authority of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), who is based at the Police Headquarters in Accra, the nation’s capital.

The IGP is assisted by two Deputy IGPs – one is responsible for Administration and the other responsible for Operations.

Also assisting the IGP at the Police Headquarters is the Headquarters Management Advisory Board (HEMAB).  They are responsible for the following schedules:

The Ghana Police Service is divided into 12 administrative regions, namely: Accra, Tema, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta, Western, Central, Northern, Railways, Ports and Harbours Upper East and Upper West Regions.

Below the Regions are 51 Police Divisions, commanded by Divisional Commanders, 179 Police Districts, commanded by District Commanders, and 651 Police Stations and posts supervised by station officers.

The service has manpower strength of a little over 17,000 personnel with a male to female ratio of about 7.3 and police civilian ratio of about one to 12000.

New strategy

With manpower strength of about 17,000, the Ghana Police Service has undergone major transformation over the years.

The focus is now on forming strategic partnership with the public in the fight against crime.  Community policing is now being encouraged to involve local communities in identifying potential crime problems and together with the police map out strategies to check such problems.

The service is also paying special attention to the needs of women and children and other victims of domestic violence.  The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has offices throughout the regions to handle such cases.


The Ghana Police Service joined the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) in 1958.  Ghana was the first African country to host the INTERPOL General Assembly in 1976.  Ghana is also an active member of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO).

The Ghana Police Service has been actively co-operating with police services within and outside the sub-region in the fight against trans-national crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, Internet Fraud, Stolen vehicles, trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and money laundering.  Ghana hosted the 18th Interpol Africa Regional Conference and the seventh meeting of Heads of African National Drugs Service from July 11 to 15, 2005 in Accra.

The Ghana Office of Interpol has been connected to the state-of-the-art global communication system called 1/24/7 – Interpol 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Police today

The Ghana Police Service, as it is now called, has as its motto “Service with Integrity”.  The functions of the Ghana Police Service as stated in the police Service Act, 1970 (Act 350) of Ghana are as follows: Crime detection and prevention, apprehension (arrest) and prosecution of offenders, maintenance of law and order and due enforcement of the law.

The primary functions of the Force are those stipulated in Section I of the Police Force Act, 1970 (Act 350).

It states among others that:  “It shall be the duties of the Police Force to prevent and detect crime, to apprehend offenders and to maintain public order and safety of persons and properties”.


The Ghana Police College was
Established on February 4, 1959


Apart from the normal police duties, the police render other important services to the public.  Some of these are:  Performing motor traffic duties to ensure safety on our roads, vetting and issuance of police criminal check certificates, assisting and helping the female gender to deal with traumatic and psychological problems as a result of sexual abuse (usually against minors).  The DOVVSU deals with this.

Police College

The Ghana Police College was established on February 4, 1959, with an initial intake of 14 selected Inspectors and Chief Inspectors.  Initially, the college was housed in temporary premises at the National Police Training School, Accra.  The college moved into its present premises on January 20, 1962.

The college was established 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 Service were trained in the United Kingdom.

Entry into the Police College is based mainly on competitive examinations, which are open to personnel of the rank of Inspector.  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.

Reference:   Ghana Police Website


Daily Graphic   -    Wednesday, March 7, 2007                        Page:   34


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