Soldiers Take Over Bullion Van Duties

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The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has taken over the escort of moneys collected from traders by banks which hitherto was the sole preserve of the Police.

The Armed Forces Unit, the Military Police, is said to be the latest to offer it services to the banks after armed robbers rendered escorting police officers almost powerless.

Sources say, the Military will continue to provide this service to the banks until the Association of Bankers is able to provide proper amoured bullion vans for the Police to takeover.

It comes months after the Police under the watch of the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) James Oppong Boanuh, lost some of it officers, escorting vehicles carrying moneys belonging to a bank.

For years, dreaded armed robbers had on a number of occasions trailed and attacked man-tran bullion van carrying moneys being escorted by officers.

They succeeded in killing some of the officers and drivers of these vehicles in some cases.

The last incident which occurred months ago ended in the death of an officer Constable Emanuel Osei and a civilian, Afua Badu at Adedenkpe at James Town in Accra.

The suspected robbers made away with the policeman’s weapon and also took a safe with an unspecified amount of money after breaking the padlock used to lock the rear of the van.

That incident in June which drew national attention and discussions forced the then IGP to issue a statement to the banks to get fit-for-purpose bullion vans or the Police will withdraw it service.

The IGP reminded the Association of Bankers to provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting currencies by the end of June 2021 as earlier agreed with the Ghana Police Service.

“Failure to do so, the police will withdraw their officers for escort duties,” parts of the statement read.

Mr Oppong Boanuh, earlier suggested that the bullion van was substandard and therefore gave banks up to the end of June to provide fortified bullion vans or have no police officer escorting their cash.

But the banks on their part indicated that the deadline given them by the Police was not realistic.

They said it was too close to enable them make the needed changes.

The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery at the time said government had started providing adequate protective gears for such officers.

The Minister said efforts were being made to provide bullet proof vests and helmets as well as body cams for officers.

Speaking on the sidelines of the final funeral rites of the late Constable, Ambrose Dery said the government will facilitate discussions between the banks and the police to ensure the safety of the officers.

“The government has started providing bulletproof vests, bulletproof helmets and we are also working towards providing body cams. Discussions are ongoing between the IGP and the banking systems, and we are going to facilitate that to see how we ensure that the bankers and the police personnel are better protected than they are now,” he said.