The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service embarked on stocktaking of seized, found, confiscated and surrendered small arms in Police Exhibit Stores and Armouries in the Ashanti Region from the 11th to 29th October, 2017.
The stocktaking exercise took place in all the fourteen (14) Police Divisions and One Hundred and Fifty Five (155) Police Stations in the Region. A Team comprising two (2) Senior Officers of the Commission, the Armourer General and an Auditor of the Ghana Police Service from the National Police Headquarters and Ashanti Regional Police Command respectively and two (2) Drivers undertook the exercise.
The Police retrieve and seize quite a number of illicit arms periodically through cordon and search or special operations, swoops, tip offs, crime scene investigations, and sometimes by chance. These seized arms include:
- arms from crime scenes, used in violent situations or armed conflicts;
- smuggled arms;
- illegally held arms; and
- illegally-manufactured arms.
The seized arms are largely kept in Police exhibit stores and armouries, some of which are tendered in court as evidence or exhibits. Many of the arms tendered in court are usually confiscated to the state and are kept together with seized arms in the custody of the Police. These seized and confiscated arms, if not well managed, could lead to their claw-back into society and end in wrong hands adding to the proliferation and misuse problem. It is significant, therefore, that they are well secured, identified, properly accounted for and eventually destroyed to prevent their illegal circulation back in society in future.
It is against this backdrop and pursuant to its mandate that the Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service embarked on the stocktaking exercise.
As part of the Commission’s activities, seized and confiscated illicit small arms are collected from Police exhibit stores and armouries from time to time and destroyed in an open event to educate and sensitise the general public on the dangers and impact of illicit arms on societies. Stocktaking of seized arms in collaboration with the Police, therefore, enables the Commission to identify where illicit arms that are due for collection and destruction could be located for the purpose as per Article 17 of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons and best practices.
The main objective of the stocktaking exercise was to identify seized, confiscated, found and surrendered small arms in all Police Divisions, Districts and Stations in the Ashanti Region to enhance accountability of these arms.
To categorize and record quantities of seized and confiscated, found and surrendered small arms in all Police Exhibit Stores and Armouries in the Region.
- To mop up seized small arms that are not exhibits before the law courts in the Region for collection to a more secured armoury for destruction
- To prevent the seized illicit small arms from being pilfered and transferred back to society
- To prevent such seized arms from falling into wrong hands and being used to commit armed violent crimes or fuel armed conflicts
- To facilitate Ghana’s implementation of provisions on Weapons Collection and Destruction under various international instruments on SALW to meet the country’s obligations under them
One Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty-Seven (1,667) seized and confiscated illicit arms, Fifty Eight (58) gun barrels, Thirty Six (36) gun butts, One Hundred and Nine (109) Cartridges and one grenade were identified for collection and destruction.
The breakdown is as follows:
|S/No.||SMALL ARMS TYPE||QTY|
|i.||Locally-Made Single Barrel Shot Guns||700|
|ii.||Foreign Single Barrel shot Guns||248|
|iii.||Double Barrel shot Guns||60|
|iv.||Locally-made / Artisanal Pistol||272|
|vi.||Toy Guns (Pistol)||4|
|vii.||Pump Action Guns||26|
|x.||Artisanal AK47 Rifles||3|
|xv.||Broken Locally-Made Shot Guns||52|
|xvi.||Broken Foreign-Made Shot Guns||1|
The stocktaking exercise was very useful in identifying seized and confiscated small arms in the custody of the Police in the Ashanti Region. The exercise will, therefore, be replicated in the other regions to ensure that all seized, found, confiscated and surrendered small arms are identified, recorded, collected and destroyed to prevent their recirculation in society. The identified seized small arms will be marked and destroyed or kept in a secured central armoury for destruction in conformity with best practice. This is one sure way of reducing illicit small arms and their attendant effects in the country.