Superintendent (rtd) Peter Lanchene Toobu, Member of Parliament for the Wa West District in the Upper West Region has schooled police on the conditions under which it is expected that a member of the Ghana Police Service is expected to discharge his or her firearm.
The comments were in relation to a recent shooting incident at Karimenga, a community in the North East Region.
Speaking on the Day Break Upper East Show on A1 Radio, today, Thursday, May 19, 2022, Mr. Toobu explained that as an officer of the law, there must exist certain conditions before one would discharge a service weapon insisting that, at all times, firing of a weapon should be the last resort.
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“It is not the first, not the second, not the third resort. It is always the last resort. Anytime you press the trigger, you should remember that you would be held accountable for shooting,” he said.
He insisted that as part of the police’s effort at maintaining peace, the police must realize that the force used, must always be proportional to the level of resistance.
“Proportionality in the use of force is a principle the police service cannot run away from. If you are on the road and a rider or driver refuses to stop or obey police instructions, the only reasonable conclusion can be that this person is a suspect; a suspect of any crime. There is no rule in the police regulation that says you can shoot a suspect. When you are a suspect, you are innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Toobu said the police must ensure that before a firearm is discharged, the said police officer must question the legal basis of the decision while asking whether he or she can account or justify the reasons to shoot.
Finally, Mr Toobu asked the police officer to question the necessity of firing the weapon saying “ask yourself, what I am doing, is it really necessary? Would it damage anything? If i do not do it, would it injure the police image? If you do not do it and nothing will happen, please do not do it. So you answer the principle of necessity.”
These principles, Mr Toobu said fall under the acronym PLAN; Proportionality, Legality, Accountability and Necessity.
The retired police officer referring to police service instruction number 97, said, “we have justification for the use of firearms. The rules are very clear. Before you press the trigger, ask yourself, is your life in immediate danger? If your life is in danger and that is the only way you can survive, please do not stay there and die. Use the weapon. Secondly, the person you are dealing with, is he a convicted criminal who is attempting to escape? The last one; the suspect you are trying to arrest, probably is the suspect of a heinous crime and the person is resisting violently, to the point that he is even threatening your life, you have the right to shoot. But these are very clearly defined principles in policing.”
Mr Toobu called on the police to work to regain public confidence.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana