The Senya Bereku District Police Commander, Superintendent Joshua Semenyo has said that in order to eliminate injustice against vagrants or poor and voiceless citizens, there is the need for effective collaboration between Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), and the Police and citizens.
According to him, this cooperation is necessary to reduce crime and ensure peaceful co-existence.
Superintendent Semenyo was speaking at a Crime Check Foundation’s (CCF) sensitization programme on the bye-laws of the Senya Breku District Assembly on July, 8 2021. The programme brought together officials of the Assembly, the leadership of various informal sector groups, including market women, truck pushers, transport associations, beauticians, hawkers, waste contractors, scrap dealers, the Ghana Federation of Disability, the media, and transport unions, among others.
The event formed part of the implementation of the CCF-OSIWA partnership dubbed “Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy” project. The project seeks to create an enabling environment for vagrants to know, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities in Ghana.
Mr. Semenyo reminded citizens that, working in harmony will ensure that each party become aware of its responsibilities. This, according to him, will help reduce crime, arrests, fines and imprisonments of vagrants who flout bye-laws because of ignorance. “MMDAs, the security agencies especially, the police and citizens must work hand-in-hand to reduce crime. In so doing, fines, arrests and imprisonments of vagrants will reduce drastically.
He assured that, the “job of the police is not to target vagrants but, to prevent crime.” He however, cautioned that, poor and voiceless citizens should desist from crimes and actions that would contravene the law. He was happy about the CCF-OSIWA intervention, which will increase knowledge of citizens on the local laws.
Participants were excited for the education and promised to take the education to their members.
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), established in 2000, is a grant-making and advocacy organization focused on equality, justice, democratic governance, human rights, and knowledge generation. It is part of the global network of Open Society Foundations spread across 37 countries around the world.