The IGP says the police can shoot at crowds under certain circumstances
He indicated that this happens when the police feel they are in danger
The IGP was speaking when he appeared before the PAC
James Oppong-Boanuh, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has been explaining to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament the circumstances under which Police officers can shoot at protesting crowd.
According to him, the laws permit the police to use lethal force to deal with armed rioters.
He said such a force is needed to protect the lives of officers deployed to quell violent protests adding that such action is permissible by law.
The IGP added, the use of lethal force, where necessary, is to ensure the safety of security officers whose lives may be at risk.
Oppong-Boanuh explained that, during violent protests, while the police call for calm with the use of a megaphone, when they are confronted by unarmed protesters, the use of spray guns, tear gas, and blank amour are however allowed to be used to de-escalate rising tension.
“Honourable Chair, you and I know that in very fluid situations, there are no hard and fast rules when the lives of the Police officers are threatened, that they should go through all these. So, depending on the nature of the situation you are dealing with, then you can go through all these.
“Let me add that if you are dealing with unarmed demonstrators, then you will not go for live amour, but when you see somebody in the crowd holding a weapon which is capable of being used to kill or injure a Police officer, our laws permit us to use lethal force to eliminate that threat to the officers on duty. So, it depends on the situation you are dealing with,” he told PAC on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
He continued: “Yes, we do have a manual on the use of force. Normally, you will speak to the people through a megaphone or you shout if they can hear you and you spray water, you throw tear gas and then you use blank amour and eventually you use live amour.”
He further explained that even though protestors may not be carrying deadly weapons, the officers still need to protect themselves.
The IGP noted, it is necessary for police officers to identify potential threats and deal with the threat, in a bid to control rioting crowds and to a large extent protecting themselves.
“So being in the crowd doesn’t necessarily mean you know what is happening but technically, you are responsible for whatever the person is doing. So, we take steps to eliminate that threat to the officers,” he said.
Oppong-Boanuh added, “what people don’t know is ‘A’ may be armed, ‘B’ may not. So, being in the crowd doesn’t necessarily mean you know what is happening but technically, you are responsible for whatever the person is doing. So, we take steps to eliminate that threat to the officers.”
The IGP’s explanations come on the back of recent issues relating to protests in the country and the killing of two residents of Ejura in the Ashanti Region by some military personnel deployed to disperse a crowd protesting the killing of a social activist in the area.
“What I was told is that the youth were demonstrating. They were moving from one area to another. At a point, they were throwing stones at the police vehicle and the military personnel. So, when they got to some area, the youth rounded up the security men in the middle. So, the security men decided to fire a warning shot. That is what I have been told so far,” James Oppong-Boanuh stated.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has instructed the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, to conduct, forthwith, a Public Inquiry into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate occurrences of Tuesday, 29th June 2021.
The Interior Minister is to provide a detailed report from the Inquiry, with recommendations for appropriate action, within ten days, by 9th July 2021, to President Akufo-Addo.
A statement from Eugene Arhin, Director of Communications at the Presidency reads:
“The President is deeply saddened by the deaths of Ibrahim Mohammed, alias ‘Kaaka’, Abdul Nasir Yussif and Murtala Mohammed.
He extends sincere condolences to the families of the deceased, and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.”
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