The arrival of brand new cars for the Ghana Police Service to augment the fleet of the law enforcement agency is good news.
The fear about a possible misuse of the cars and their exposure to the poor maintenance culture of the Police is the bad news even as we relish the good tidings.
Empirical evidence abounds to underscore the point that vehicles in the fleet of the law enforcement agency over the years have suffered from the poor maintenance culture that has afflicted other state agencies.
In the security fraternity however the Armed Forces stand apart from the others in terms of the maintenance of their fleet of vehicles. Perhaps it is because maintenance and inspection of equipment is commonplace in the Armed Forces or a drill in the parlance of the military.
We wish the Police could emulate this template so that vehicles allocated to them do not suffer avoidable misuse and a poor maintenance culture.
The memory of the Peugeot cars from Nigeria when former President J.A. Kufuor assumed the mantle of leadership to replace the broken down vehicles in the Police is still fresh. The early days of the assumption of office of the former president was characterized by a Police Service almost grounded with just a few serviceable vehicles.
Nigeria as a matter of urgency delivered over a hundred Peugeot saloon cars to replenish the fleet of the Police after the former president’s request. The feeling was electric when the Peugeot cars arrived. The vehicles did not last as long as expected. They broke down within a relatively short period prompting public discussions about whatever happened.
The Police being a microcosm of the Ghanaian society share this unacceptable bad maintenance culture with other state agencies.
Listening to one of the evergreen remarks of the late Prime Minister K.A. Busia about the maintenance culture in our local circumstances gives us the feeling that this challenge has been with us perhaps ever since we attained independence.
He lamented about our attitude to public property and called for a better handling of these so that government does not continue spending funds to replace them. Such funds he said could be put into other uses. Even in those days, over forty years ago, we spotted such unsavoury attitude as a people.
We can also recall the run-down Omnibus Authority Leyland buses which were bought by a private individual under the label Kingdom Transport. These vehicles at the time of purchase were technically moribund but under a private management they lasted for a long time becoming a feature of our intra-city transport system.
We want to see the new Police vehicles not only put to good use but maintained in the most acceptable fashion by the Police workshops. The picture of the law enforcement agency’s vehicles being operated for many months without lubricant change would definitely curtail the lifespan of the engine. Whatever it takes to be consistent with an acceptable maintenance regimen should be undertaken by all means.
Commanders under whose authority these vehicles are entrusted to must be held accountable for their proper management. Where necessary those responsible for avoidable damages should be surcharged.
These vehicles are for operations and other essential tasks and not for the movement of spouses of commanders.