The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has revealed that security personnel have the legal mandate to use lethal force when confronting armed protestors if the need arises.
Addressing Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, IGP James Oppong-Boanuh, indicated that the use of lethal force, where necessary, is to ensure the safety of security officers whose lives may be at risk.
“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 said.
According to the IGP, the Police Service has a manual that provides the required steps to take when facing unarmed and armed protestors, be it a lawful or unlawful protest.
When confronted with unarmed protestors, he noted that the Police requests calmly through a megaphone. However, should it escalate, the use of spray guns, tear gas and blank amour are the preferred means to resolve matters?
“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 explained.
He further added that not all protestors may be carrying weapons. However, this does not prevent the security officers from protecting themselves.
“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.”