The Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) has donated 1,000 units of bullet-proof vests and 1,000 units of ballistic helmets to the Ghana Police Service (GPS).
The donation was made at the request of former Inspector General of Police Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh, for these items to ensure that the police on duty – especially those at banks or those guiding the transport of money – are well-protected following recent attacks on the police.
At the items’ presentation at the Ghana Police Service Headquarters in Accra, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAB, Mr John Awuah, said the protective items donated are to augment the inventory of these items to ensure there is enough protective equipment for officers on duty.
“Today, as an association, we want to draw the attention of this country to the fact that as we talk about police security or security of the nation, we must also talk about how we contribute to ensuring that the people who protect us are themselves protected,” he said.
He said the police give the citizenry comfort by their presence on streets and public places because the security situation in the country has not been the best recently; but, unfortunately, they themselves are not protected well enough, which has led some of them being injured or killed.
He said bullet-proof vests and ballistic helmets will not completely take away the risk of police being gravely injured in the event of an attack in the line of duty, but will reduce the risk of having life-threatening injuries.
He said GAB is taking the necessary steps to ensure it complies with government’s directive to use the right armoured vehicles for cash operations of banks in the country.
“We are working with our banks, the IGP’s office, the police service, Bank of Ghana, the Ministry of Interior, the National Security Ministry to ensure that we have the right and credible certificate to enable us procure the right armoured vehicles for our use,” he said.
He added that the collaboration is going on smoothly, and it’s his hope that very soon the banking industry will procure a fleet of armoured vehicles so it can get rid of the ordinary pick-ups converted to bullion vans that are presently being used.
Mr. Awuah also urged the public to avoid withdrawing huge sums of money from the banking system so as to avoid being robbed.
According to him, most Ghanaians are not taking advantage of the digital payments systems such as mobile money and electronic cash transfers, but would rather withdraw huge sums of money to pay water bills and electric bills which could have been done without the physical cash.
On his part, the Director General in Charge of National Protection Directorate of the GPS, Mr. Patrick Atampugre Akolgo who received the donation of bullet-proof vests and ballistic helmets, commended the GAB for the items donated and the association’s continuous support of the GPS.
“What we are witnessing this morning is a historic event organised for the presentation of body-armour to the Ghana Police Service by the Ghana Association of Banks – which in my opinion is rare in the history of the Service, given the magnitude of logistical support they are donating to us today,” he said.
He said in the security industry body-armour and shield helmets are very important protective gear for the men and women who have to brave all odds to face the sophistication with which crimes are planned and executed these days.
“There is therefore no doubt that the body-armour and steel helmets will greatly enhance the safety of our gallant officers and men in their daily operations to protect life and property, which is one of our core mandates,” he added.
According to him, crime-fighting is a shared responsibility; and it is only when there are such collaborations and resource-sharing that crime can be successfully brought to the barest minimum and make our dear country a safe place to live in.
He however noted that despite all the challenges of crime-fighting in Ghana, the country remains one of the safest in the sub-region; and the police administration under the leadership of the IGP Dr. George Akuffo Dampare is working tirelessly day and night to ensure Ghana is even safer.
He also mentioned that the IGP, with tacit support from the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has initiated some plans to deepen our collaboration with the GAB and Bank of Ghana to manage the risk of robbery attacks on Cash-in-transit vehicles and personnel, and also to strengthen security around all financial institutions in the country.