Director of public affairs at the Ghana Police Service, Supt. Mrs. Sheila Abayie-Buckman has indicated that her outfit is not in the rightful capacity to arrest people who flout social distancing rules.
She exclusively told GhanaWeb that, the Ghana Police Service only has the right to ensure that such rules are observed but not to arrest anyone found culpable.
“We are not arresting for social distancing. We don’t have that authority. The president came up with executive powers in March to restrict certain kinds of rights. One of such was; the right to movement which is referred to as lockdown and we ensured that. Before the police will arrest anyone, there must be a legal backing to it. If there’s no such law, the public might expect the police to launch an arrest but our hands are tied,” she stated.
DCOP Buckman said the only offense that calls for an arrest and prosecution is the refusal to wear nose masks.
“Right now the only thing we can arrest for is the refusal to wear nose masks which we do randomly. But when it comes to the number of people who can congregate at a place at a particular time, the law only gives the authority to regulatory bodies who also seek police assistance,” she said.
She emphasized that when the country’s lawmakers decide to enact laws that allow for people to be arrested for not observing social distancing, then the Police will be empowered to implement them.
“If people continue to flout the social distancing rules and such things continue to happen, then I believe people who make the law would have to come up with one that will empower the police. If we try any arrests, it will be unlawful and the media will come after us for doing something unlawful,” she maintained.