The Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu has disclosed that a manual on effective communication with the media will soon be introduced by the Service.
The manual is expected to serve as a guide to officers on how to deal with the media in case they come into contact with them in the line of duty.
Speaking at a one day forum organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with the police in Accra, the IGP said the role of the media in assisting in law enforcement cannot be understated.
“The important role of the media in facilitating police professionalism cannot be overemphasised. The media has been a reliable strategic partner for the police.
“They serve as a mirror to lay bare our shortcomings to enable us continue to learn and develop,” Mr Asante Apeatu added.
Stories of police brutalizing the media are not new. The recent police assault on one of Joy News’ reporter Latiff Iddris in March this year sparked national outrage. Latiff was at the police headquarters where the Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyiddoho was being interrogated for making provocative comments.
Latiff was dispatched to the location to report on the unfolding story and it was there that a question he asked one of the officers resulted in the assault.
“I approached one Police officer and asked if the Service has a special name for the crowd control vehicle, two of which were stationed in front of the CID Headquarters at the time,” Latif recounted.
But his seemingly harmless question attracted the anger of the police officer who ordered Latif to get lost.
The reporter said he went away but the policeman grabbed him from behind, slapped and hit him with the back of a gun for "asking a stupid question".
After four X-Ray examinations and a CT scan, doctors concluded that Latif has a fractured skull. Investigations are still ongoing into the issue.
The IGP believes incidences like these can be avoided if measures are put in place to ensure that communication between the media and police are done in a manner that is beneficial to both parties.
He said the Service will be including in its training, a manual on police and media relations course to help reduce the friction that has characterised police and media relations in recent times.
He hopes that the forum will offer “an opportunity for participating police and media [personnel] to brainstorm and come out with blueprints for developing a manual that will guide police-media relations especially during major police operations.”
Mr Asante Apeatu said the police will continue to protect media personnel, adding that misunderstanding between the police and media will soon be a thing of the past.
But advised, “let us be slow in highlighting imperfections but quick in projecting the positives of our synergy.”
Watch also: Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa Sulemana Braimah's remarks at the forum below: