The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, has called on religious bodies, especially churches, to hold services within two hours during the Easter festivities.
He noted that during Easter, religious activities across the country were always on the increase and it was, therefore, important to reduce the numbers and strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols.
“Conventions, crusades, pilgrimages and such large physical gatherings are not allowed,” he stressed in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday.
Outlining measures put in place by the police to ensure peaceful festivities, the IGP said the police would provide enhanced security during the festivities and that would include the deployment of plainclothes and uniformed officers to monitor compliance with COVID-19 protocols and take the necessary actions.
“They will also intensify their vigilance over criminal activities across the country,” he stated.
The IGP indicated that hosting any carnival, festival, beach gathering, street dances, procession, parades and such events was illegal as nightclubs as well as cinemas and movie houses were also banned from opening.
“I want to assure citizens and foreign nationals living in the country that the police service is determined to ensure peace and guarantee the security of all. In this regard, a number of concrete operational strategies have been put in place,” he said.
“We continue to intensify day and night patrols, snap checks, intelligence-led swoops, highway and residential patrols, motor traffic enforcement strategies, community engagement and sensitisation on security,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh said.
He called on the public to continue to be vigilant and report all criminal activities to the nearest police station and also urged the public to abide by the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the President, which had legal backing, as the police would strictly enforce them.
“All activities of ‘closed room’ bar or pub, including those in hotels, remain illegal,” the IGP stated. However, Mr Oppong-Boanuh explained that open air drinking spots may operate provided that they observed all other COVID-19 protocols.
He added that tourist sites and attractions might, however, open to the public provided they ensured the wearing of face masks, social distancing and enhanced hygiene by all patrons.
On funerals, the IGP said, families might want to take advantage of the holiday period to bury loved ones but reminded the public that it was illegal to hold funerals, saying “private burials may be held with a maximum of 25 people if held outside the church or religious facility.”
“For church or religious burial services, the maximum number of participants should be 100. In all cases, the COVID-19 protocols are expected to be observed, with the duration not exceeding two hours,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh stated.
On road safety, the IGP said together with its partners, police officers would be present at mapped-out traffic congestion and accident-prone areas and that people who drove beyond speed limits, overloaded, drunk while driving and indulged in such other traffic irregularities would be arrested.
“I call on all to continuously give maximum support to the police and security services to facilitate the provision of adequate and guaranteed security. The police are your partners on a common drive to consolidate peace and security, and to also promote social cohesion,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh said.
The Police Administration encouraged the public to continue to be vigilant and in cases of emergency crime situations, the public should call 0550323323, 0275000156 or Toll Free numbers 18555, 191 and 112.