Many have questioned the relevance of the Marine Police Unit, especially considering the fact that the Police Service is said to have a deficit of personnel in its land enforcement roles. Until recently, the role of the Marine Police was least recognized and mostly attracted bigoted comments from the public, about its establishment.? Early this month a little of its activities came to bare when the popular hip-life artist, Theophilos Tagoe, alias Castro and a female friend were reported to have drowned in Ada whilst jet skiing. The efforts of the rescue operation team during this period could not be glossed over, as marine police officers exhibited a high level of professionalism and tact to ensure the victims were found, dead or alive.
The maintenance of law and order, the traditional role of the Police Service, is not only limited to the land space of Ghana but covers the territorial waters as well. Marine Police, hitherto called the ?Water Police?, was formed as far back as 1916 to maintain law and order at the country?s ports and territorial waters but was disbanded in 1942. However, when Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2007, it was necessary that the unit be re-established to provide utmost security for the maritime environment.
Ghana by its geographical location is endowed with great marine resource both in land water bodies and along the Gulf of Guinea. These maritime zones for a long time have become an operational ?blind spot? of policing, with all activities and logistics concentrated on land security only. This had resulted in so much lawlessness and indiscipline on our waterways.
Again, water bodies within the land space of the country, especially the Volta Lake, serve as lifelines and means of livelihood for several communities in terms of fishing, transportation, tourism, etc. In the same way, there have been recorded cases of boat disasters on these water bodies, especially the Volta Lake, which have claimed a number of lives.
More importantly, the country?s coastline, rivers, ports and harbours are constantly saddled with numerous criminal activities such as drug and human trafficking, maritime robberies, fishing in unauthorized areas, piracy, pair-trawling and other related crimes, raising lots of security concerns.? But a major challenge stems from the fact that such crimes, when committed on the seas and the inland water bodies, go undetected since substances of evidential value get lost. This makes it difficult or impossible for perpetrators to be aptly prosecuted. To ensure that the police performs its roles effectively as the lead agency in law enforcement, it was apparent that the marine police had to be revived to gather and collect intelligence, and conduct effective and coordinated patrols aimed at improving and promoting the territorial integrity of our blue economy.
With the re-establishment of the Marine Policing Unit, contemporary security challenges mostly recorded at the territorial waters of Ghana have been fairly controlled.
To be continued
By ASP Effia Tenge?
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