Tension brews in Police Service as officers petition Police Council over promotions
Some disgruntled officers of the Ghana Police Service have petitioned the Police Council chaired by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia over their promotions.
The officers filed their petition through lawyer Joseph Ayikoi Otoo stating that despite being granted study leave for higher academic qualifications, according to the Policy Guidelines of the Service, attendant promotions have stagnated.
The petitioners claim several attempts to have their concerns addressed through petitions sent to the Inspector General of Police, Dr George Akuffo Dampare, haven’t received the desired attention.
The IGP recently speaking at a durbar with police officers in the Bono Region, noted that the police administration under his watch has been committed to rewarding hard work, performance and dedication.
According to him, his administration is ensuring that officers are promoted on merit and not necessarily on academic achievements.
“For this whole idea that we are the people who know our rights and that, why is this person promoted and not promoted while the laws are there? It means you don’t read – go and read your CI.
“What you should know is that something that has never happened before has happened on our watch and that type of promotion that is done probably to some few people at headquarters and others, we changed it… the Commanders they know the people who are killing themselves for this job, identify them as long as they are two years in their rank, we will promote them,” the IGP said.
But laywer Ayikoi Otoo in his petition to the Police Council said despite the existence of Regulation 37(7) of C.I. 76 “all officers on Study Leave With Pay who graduate are by reason of having obtained higher academic qualifications given ‘Academic Promotions’ with an entry into the Police College.”
Read the full petition below:
Police Service Council,
PETITION FOR REDRESS
THE HUMBLE PETITION which I present on behalf of your Petitioners SHOWETH;
1.THAT all your Petitioners whose names are captured in the attached list are Police Officers and serving in various capacities in the Ghana Police Service throughout Ghana.
2.That it is common knowledge that the Police Service has Policy Guidelines amongst which is a provision for grant of Study Leave with pay to deserving officers who apply to enable them to improve their academic capabilities and competencies by acquiring higher academic qualifications.
3.All Your Petitioners applied for the 2017/2018 Academic Year Study Leave with Pay programme for Tertiary Courses ranging between two(2) to four (4) years.They qualified and were made to enter into a Bond to serve the Police Service upon completion of their various courses for at least Five (5) years.
4.Each and every Petitioner entered into the requisite Bond upon condition that the Bond would be estreated when breached.
5.Your Petitioners were then granted the Study Leave with Pay upon a further conditions that during periods of vacation they will return to perform their duties but disqualified from writing any promotion examination during the period in School as well as from enjoying any increment in their salaries.
6.Your Petitioners were also reminded of Regulation 37(7) of the Police Service Regulations C.I.76 which in any case has routinely appeared in all Letters approving Study Leave with Pay as a policy save that it has by the time the approval was granted them become a regulation.
7.Upon successful completion of their studies,Your Petitioners were awarded Degrees and other Professional qualifications as appropriate.
8.Your Petitioners in accordance with laid down procedures, wrote to the Police Service Administration and attached their Certificates and applied for “upgrade” which is understood to mean “Academic Promotions” individually, but in response they were all congratulated on their achievements but the Administration remained silent on their promotions except that those qualified for administrative promotions got them not academic promotions.
9.In the absence of any other explanation from the Police Administration for the delay in a response to their Applications for “Upgrade”,Your Petitioners decided to come together as a group describing themselves as “Personnel On Study Leave With Pay”and sent a Petition dated 6th September 2021 in substance appealing to the Police Administration through the current IGP then in an Ag capacity “to have a second look at Regulation 37(7) of C.I. 76, its interpretation,implementation and effects in the Service ”,BELIEVING THAT MIGHT BE THE STUMBLING BLOCK.
10.When they did not hear from the Police Administration, they sent a reminder and then In December 2021,Your Petitioners received a response to their Petition which only directed that they should channel their Petition through their respective chain of command as required by Service Instructions (S.I.)45.
11.On the face of the response which was terse,it did not reject the Application for “Upgrade”but the attitude of the Police Administration of asking each Applicant to apply individually through their respective chain of command,when they have a common concern,conveyed to them an unwillingness on the part of the Administration to address their “Academic Promotions” issue and it is against that background that they have approached me to send this Petition on their behalf.
12. From the mass of evidence before me,it cannot be denied neither can it be concealed that what appears as Regulation 37(7) of C.I. 76 is not a new provision but a Policy the Administration has been familiar with for several years as part of Policy Guidelines on Study Leave with Pay.All successful Applicants in the past have been reminded of that Policy.
13.Be that as it may,Your Petitioners say that inspite of the existence of that policy, all officers on Study Leave With Pay who graduate are by reason of having obtained higher academic qualification given “Academic Promotions” with an entry into the Police College.
14.I wish to submit on behalf of your Petitioners that looking at regulation 37(7) of C.I.76,it vests the Police Administration with a discretion just as when it was contained in the Policy Guidelines and requires a broad liberal and purposive interpretation so as to take into consideration the history of the provision and the goal of the Police Administration in awarding Study Leave with Pay to successful candidates for the benefit of the Service.
15.Your Petitioners recall that in the Study Leave For 2011/2012 Academic Year Approval Circular with reference No SO/G 4/33C/V 5/243 dated 19th December,2011, Police Administration added the following;”However the Administration wishes to announce further,the temporary suspension of provisions of the Policy Guidelines on”Academic Achievements while on the Job”and that certificates acquired from the courses pursue(sic)
MAY NOT NECESSARILY ATTRACT PROMOTIONS.
16.Notwithstanding the Suspension of “Academic Achievements”as stated supra, the available evidence shows that all graduates of the 2011/2012 Academic Year were promoted and sent to Police College.
17.It ought to be stressed on behalf of Petitioners that a promotion is a right that a worker earns from an employer and it is usually provided for in Conditions of Service or Senior Service Regulations.Conditions for promotions in the Police Service are provided for under Regulation 37 of Police Service Regulations C.I.76.
18.In broad terms promotions are made by the Police Appointments and Promotions Board and the Police Council based on recommendations by Assessment Committees. The limited procedure which can be gathered from that Regulation is that Candidates for promotion may be recommended after they have passed a Promotion examination;or having regard to seniority and length of service served,subject to satisfactory performance assessment of good conduct or by special recommendations based upon meritorious acts of bravery or valour in the prevention of crime or outstanding performance of duty or on a recommendation of the Police Appointment and Promotion Advisory Board;
a Senior Officer under whom the officer serves taking into consideration:integrity and good conduct;efficiency,
attitude towards work and sense of responsibility;
experience and capacity for cooperation with other officers;ability to offer leadership;seniority and whether the officer has served the required number of years in the relevant post; or upon completion of not less than four years satisfactory service subject to availability of vacancy
19.The last criterion is contained in Regulation 37(7) of C.I. 76 which I intend to set out herein in extenso for full effect;
“An officer who attains higher academic qualification is not entitled to promotion by reason only of that academic qualification”.
20.A literal interpretation of the sub regulation in my opinion means that though a criterion of promotion in the Police Service is by attainment of higher academic qualification while on the job, the the Police Appointments and Appointments Board and the Police Council can take other factors into consideration apart from the academic qualification.
21.It is submitted on behalf of the Your Petitioners that the sub regulation under reference ie 37(7) vests the Police Administration with discretion to use higher academic qualification in addition to other criteria for promotion.This is because if the draftsman intended to absolutely prohibit that mode of promotion,he would not have lacked the language to use such as the mandatory “shall” instead the verb “is”.
22.Thus by choosing the verb “is” coupled with the phrase”
“by reason only” the interpretation will be that attainment of higher academic qualification is very much a factor for promotion which the Police Service Promotions and Appointments Board and Police Council can take into consideration for purposes of promotion albeit not the only criterion.
23.It follows therefore that the onus is on the Police Service Appointments and Promotions Board and the Police Council to demonstrate to the Petitioners that though they have met the criterion of achieving higher academic qualification,for some other reason/s they do not qualify to be promoted which can happen only when they receive responses to their requests for academic promotions.
24.Inspite of the fact that they are yet to receive any official responses the Petitioners have no reason to doubt that they are all qualified for promotion even if other criteria are taken into consideration and are therefore at a complete loss at the treatment being meted out to them by the Police Administration.
25.Thus Your Petitioners can say with all the emphasis at their command that it has never happened that graduates who enjoyed Study Leave with Pay were denied opportunity of academic promotions.That being the case it can be deduced that the Police Administration has acquiesced and had allowed all graduates to proceed to the Police College in accordance with exercise of their discretion.
26.It was that conduct on the part of the Police Administration which led Your Petitioners to also have a legitimate reasonable expectations that having successfully graduated they will benefit from academic promotions, which unfortunately has proven elusive so far.
27.Thus to deny Your Petitioners the opportunity now will smack of arbitrariness,
capriciousness or bias either by resentment,prejudice or
personal dislike towards Your Petitioners.
28.Happily the Police Administration has not responded to say Your Petitioners have been denied academic promotions due to Regulation 37(7) of C.I.76.
Further, the Guidelines for Promotions expected to be published in the Service Instructions(S.I.) provided for under Regulation 37(8) to regulate promotions in the Police Service have not yet been published and therefore it appears the doors are not shut against Your Petitioners.
29.In the circumstances,I hereby present this Petition on behalf of Your Petitioners humbly praying that the Police Administration opens the doors to Your Petitioners to enable them enjoy the fruits of their labour by allowing them to enter the Police College.
Hon J. Ayikoi Otoo
For and on behalf of
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