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Mr David Asante-Apeatu,IGP
Mr David Asante-Apeatu, IGP

Understanding Policing in modern Ghana

Policing is generally about law enforcement, maintenance of law and order checking crime and ensuring that those suspected to have committed crime are made to face the law.

The Ghana Police Service which derived its roots from the Gold Coast constabulary had been in existence for about a century now. The Service which was known as the Ghana Police Force, has undergone several changes to suit the dynamics of our political, social and cultural circumstances.

A peek into our historical trajectory has indications of policing before the advent of colonialism, where Police was placed under State authority. There are historical records or narrative indicating that policing predate the colonial era: Various traditional authorities had their own way of enforcing the law, maintaining law and order and bringing those who breached the law to book. One can recount the popular AHENFIE POLICE, ASAFO COMPANIES and many more.

These forms of social controls are indication that Policing forms an integral part of the smooth functioning of many civilized societies.

The functions performed by the Ghana Police Service therefore reflect the inherent quest for society to be regulating along acceptable standards and norms of behaviour. In line with the dynamic venture of the society, the Ghana Police Service had also evolved over the years and continues to evolve to meet the challenges of maintaining law and order in modern societies.

Currently the Ghana Police Service is governed by the Police Service Act, 1970 (Act 350) which states as follows:

  1. It shall be the duty of the Police Service to prevent and detect crime, to apprehend offenders and to maintain public order and the safety of persons and property.
  2. every Police officer shall perform such functions as are by law conferred upon a Police officer and shall obey all lawful duties and directions in respect of the execution of his office which he may receive from his superiors in the Police Service.

These functions of the Police Service as stated above, places responsibilities on every Police officer to perform the above functions and also obey all lawful orders and directions in respect of the execution of his or her duties which he / she may receive from his or her [superiors] Seniors or as defined in the Police Service Instructions and any other enactments.

In operationalizing these broad functions, the Police perform the following typical duties:

  1. Patrols – foot, motor and bicycle.

The police is more effective when it is able to prevent the crime from happening (proactive) rather than solving the crimes (reactionary). One of the surest ways is by increasing police presence in communities to deter criminal activities. This is seen in routine and targeted patrols by the men in uniform. The Police also protect property by proving guard duties at vital installations and the protection of very important State functionaries etc.

Generally, the patrols that Police conduct regularly is to ensure the general security of all persons by maintaining visibility, monitoring, responding to emergencies, intervening in situations where the breach of the peace is likely to occur.

  1. Public Order Management

The Police also provide security during Public events to prevent any disorder or chaotic situations and also protect life and property. Examples are processions, parade, carnival, street dance, celebration of traditional custom, an outdooring of a traditional ruler, demonstration and apublic meeting,

  1. Investigations and Prosecutions

In addition to their preventive functions, Police also receive complaints that are criminal in nature as specified in the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960(Act 29). The Police after receiving such complaints, conduct investigation to establish whether an offence had been committed or not; by gathering evidence, and sufficient evidence is gathered to prove the commission of the offence, the case is then processed for prosecution in the law Court under the authority of the Attorney General as stated in Article 88 (3) of the 1992 Constitution as follows: “The Attorney General shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences”.

  1. Traffic Management

In addition to these typical frontline duties performed by the Police, they are also engaged in Motor traffic duties such as traffic management, and control on our roads and at other public functions, they also investigate, prosecute road traffic offences, responding to traffic accidents as per the Road Traffic Regulation2012(L.I. 2180).

  1. Specialized Services

The Police also provide specialized service such as Medical Services, at the Police Hospital in Accra, clinics at the Police Headquarters, Mobile Force Barracks, National Police Training school all in Accra and Regional Clinics at Kumasi, Bolgatanga, Koforidua, Ho, Tamale, Cape Coast, Sekondi and Sunyani to some members of the general public and other Security Agencies.

Other specialized services provided by the Police include; security vetting for those travelling outside the country and those seeking employment as well as vetting for businesses such as hotels; the registration and licensing of authorized firearms, inspection of facilities for the storage of firearms and other explosives, vetting of documents and DNA Analysis etc. by the Criminal Investigation Department [CID].



Article 190 of the Constitution, places the Ghana Police Service under the Public Services of Ghana. Article 201 specifies that the Service shall be governed by the Police Council, which shall advice the President on matters of policing relating to internal security, including the role of the Police Service, budgeting and finance, administration and the promotion of officers above the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

  1. The Police Council

The current Police Council was sworn in on July, 6th 2017 with the Vice President of the Republic, MahamuduBawumia as the chairman. It has the following components as members, the Minister for the Interior; the Inspector-General of Police; the Attorney-General or his representative; a lawyer nominated by the Ghana Bar association; a representative of the Retired Senior Police Officers Association; two members of the Police Service, appointed by the President, acting in consultation with the Council of State, one of whom is a junior rank and two other members appointed by the President.


  1. Police Management Board

The current membership of POMAB is 19 with the Inspector-General of Police as the chairman. Apart from the IGP, the Director–Generals of the following schedules (Technical, Welfare, Administration, Operations, Special Duties, Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau, Human Resource Development, National Patrols,  Motor Traffic & Transport, Research and Planning, Services, Private Security Operations, ICT, Technical, Finance, Criminal Investigations,  Legal and Prosecutions,  Communications and Public Affairs and the  Chief Staff Officer  as the Secretary.

  1. Regional Police Committees

Again, Article 204 also makes provision for the establishment of Regional Police Committees which shall advise the Police Council on matters relating to Police in the region.The constituents are the Minister of State appointed for the region, who is the chairman; the two most senior members of the Police Service in the region; a representative of each district in the region appointed by the District Assembly in the district; a lawyer practising in the region nominated by the Ghana Bar Association; a representative of the Attorney-General; and a representative of the Regional House of Chiefs;

In addition to these, the Constitution places the day to day operational and administrative control under the responsibility of the Inspector-General of Police [IGP] he is assisted by team of Senior Police Officers incharge of various schedules at the Police Headquarters known as Police ManagementBoard [POMAB].

There are 11 Police operational Regions, 83 Divisions,298 Districts, 1102 Stations and Posts. Accra houses the National Headquarters and the Regional Headquarters is located at Accra Central. In the Ashanti Region, the Police headquarters is located at Adum; in Central, the Regional Police Command is located at Pedu Junction Traffic light; in Tema, the Tema Habour (Adjacent GPHA Long room); in the Western Region, Sekondi Road Junction, in Eastern Region Galloway road; in the Northern Region, behind Tamale Jubilee Park; in the Upper East Region, at Bolgatanga; in the Upper West Region, the Regional Police Command is located at Wa; in the Volta Region, its located at Ho and in the Brong Ahafo Region .The Regional Police Command is located at Sunyani Area 4, opposite the Metro Mass Transport Head Office.


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