Public Service-Security (SEK0001)
Action Plan: Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana Action Plan
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly
Support Institution(s): Metropolitan Works Engineer, Ghana Police Service, Community Development Officer, ECG, Sub Metropolitan District Council Administers; Institution: STMA-CSUF (Lead CS) Designation: Administrative and Project Manager Name: Mr. Aziz Mahmoud Telephone:+233209056647 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor, FoN, Radio 360, GNA
Policy AreasCapacity Building, E-Government, Justice, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Subnational
Issue to be addressed: Generate a government-supported, community-led watch system to elevate safety across the metropolis. The STMA would partner with the Police and some key stakeholders (Traditional leaders, Assembly members etc) to undertake community mapping, form, train and equip community members who wish to volunteer to raise security levels across the Metropolis. This would go hand-in-hand with the provision of street lights by the Assembly to illuminate streets and other accesses as well as create night-time visibility to prevent the creation of havens for miscreants. Primary objective: Night-time insecurity is a key challenge facing most communities in the Metropolis. The situation is further compounded by inadequate distribution of street lights across the Metropolis which creates safe havens for miscreants to perpetrate crime. To curb this situation, some communities, through their own initiatives have formed volunteer groups to combat crime. However, these community volunteer groups do not have government support to enhance their activities. Short description: To bring together key stakeholders to elevate safety across the Metropolis. OGP challenge: Through a consultative process that encourages citizen participation in decision-making and action; the Local Authority, Civil Society and other governmental agencies will partner and foster synergies that would help achieve the desired outcome of elevating security across the Metropolis. Civic participation that would in the long-run encourage a sense of involvement in and commitment to a security intervention would be achieved. Thus, sustainability of the commitment would be attained since communities would be involved in the design and implementation of the project. Existing technology feedback platforms, including a police- managed whatsapp may be used to build relationships among community watch groups, the Assembly, Traditional Leaders, Assembly members and the Police to promote safety across the Metropolis.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
1. Public Service – Security
Generate a government-supported, community-led watch system to elevate safety across the metropolis. The STMA would partner with the police and key stakeholders (Traditional leaders, Assembly members, etc.) to undertake community mapping, form, train and equip community members who wish to volunteer to raise security levels across the metropolis. This would go hand-in-hand with the provision of street lights by the Assembly to illuminate streets and other accesses as well as create nighttime visibility to prevent the creation of havens for miscreants.
1.1. Develop and map crime prone communities and existing watch groups with police and community leaders. We will develop a mapping of crime prone communities and existing watch groups in STMA, and document their mode of operation - how they monitor and report on crime. The Metropolitan Assembly will engage communities in STMA that are managing community watch programs to learn about their models. In parallel, we will engage with Police to understand their crime recording system (which is currently through WhatsApp and other channels), and specifically how community watch groups report crimes.
1.2. Engage up to five (5) new communities without watch groups. The Metropolitan Assembly will engage up to 5 (depending on level of need to be assessed after mapping) crime-prone communities without watch programs through Assembly members (and other community leaders) to develop new community watch groups (based on the models that are working in other communities). We will liaise every two months with “watch leaders” and police through existing platforms – possibly including Metropolitan Security Council (MESEC), or Time with Community. We will use these platforms to monitor crime levels over time, and effective community approaches to managing crime.
1.3. Build Watch group capacity. The Metropolitan Assembly will engage with police to offer training programs to community watch groups across the metropolis. Training will be conducted, and community leaders will be engaged by media to tell their stories of applying the training. A coalition of community watch dog committees will be formed, with membership drawn from each watch committee.
1.4. Undertake safety assessment for 2017. The Metropolitan Assembly, together with police, traditional authorities, opinion Leaders and supporting community associations, will undertake an assessment of safety for 2017. We will review police crime data and engage citizens to understand levels and perceptions of crime.
|Status of Completion||Limited|
|Start Date||January 2017|
|Intended Completion Date||December 2017|
|Responsible Office|| |
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA)
|Did It Open Government?||Marginal|
Starred commitments are considered exemplary OGP commitments. To receive a star, a commitment must meet several criteria:
- It must be specific enough that a judgment can be made about its potential impact. Starred commitments will have “medium” or “high” specificity.
- The commitment’s language should make clear its relevance to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public Accountability.
- The commitment would have a 'transformative' potential impact if completely implemented.
- Finally, the commitment must see significant progress during the action plan implementation period, receiving an assessment of 'substantial' or 'complete' implementation.
Overall Objective & Relevance
In Sekondi-Takoradi, urban planning and security are critical challenges, and crime affects low-income areas in unique ways. A study carried out by the International Development Research Centre found that in four Ghanaian cities, including Sekondi-Takoradi, poor urban areas face increased vulnerability to crime, especially at night. Citizens often become the victims of opportunistic crime, and police presence is limited. For example, in these areas, indoor plumbing and formal housing are limited, and citizens are vulnerable when they must walk along unlit roads to use toilet facilities at night.  In addition, public trust in law enforcement is low due to high perceptions of corruption.  Given this context, this commitment aims to empower and encourage citizens to be involved in community watch groups that monitor and report on crime in the city.
Informal community volunteer groups combat crime in Sekondi-Takoradi. However, they have no direct or structured relationship with local government authorities or the police. Through this commitment, the STMA proposes to increase these groups’ capacity via the following ways: (1) mapping crime-prone communities and existing watch groups with police and community leaders, (2) engaging up to five new communities without watch groups, (3) building watch group capacity through police-led training programs, and (4) undertaking a safety assessment using all data collected and using the data to understand the levels and perceptions of crime. This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation, as it seeks to involve the citizens to map crime-prone areas. The commitment also seeks to collaborate with citizens to expand the number of organized watch groups and increase the cooperation between the police and citizens in addressing crime.
Specificity and Potential Impact
Overall, this commitment is considered “medium” in terms of specificity. Milestone 1,2 is particularly high. It provides the number of crime-prone communities that will develop new watch groups; a clear timeline for the frequency of meetings between the Assembly, “watch leaders,” and police (every two months); and the platforms to be used for these meetings (Metropolitan Security Council or “Time with Community” meetings). Other milestones are less specific, such as Milestone 1.4, which calls for undertaking a “safety assessment” and engaging citizens on levels and perceptions of crime without explaining how these activities will be carried out.
Identifying and mapping the areas at high risk of crime and drawing on strong community bonds to increase monitoring in those areas, could have a moderate potential impact on improving security. The existing community watch groups operate in isolation without any coordination with other groups or law enforcement agencies in the metropolis. Bringing community watch groups together with the police for training and sharing best practices could improve trust in law enforcement and help citizens better ensure policing resources are directed to high-risk areas. 
Overall, progress on this commitment has been limited and behind schedule.
The STMA reported that it collaborated with the Ghanaian CSO Friends of the Nation to engage with the community. According to the self-assessment, it formed only one community watch committee out of the planned five committees by December 2018 due to limited support from Assembly members and a lack of resources and volunteers.
Additionally, the STMA reported to have changed 546 sodium street light bulbs to LED bulbs, provided maintenance to 3,250 sodium streetlight bulbs, and replaced 9,200 meters of armored cables. This activity was included as part of the action plan to increase security in the region.
According to the STMA, the change in government in January 2017 contributed to the delay in this commitment’s implementation. The new administration needed time to understand the concept of OGP and how the Assembly operated within it. For instance, the new administrative head – the metropolitan chief executive – appointed by the new president to head the STMA, needed time to understand the planning process, the budget cycle and its implementation, and citizens’ engagement platforms. The change of government was also noted to have affected resource allocation.
Civic Participation: No change
This commitment sought to improve security with the creation of community watch groups composed of city members, police officers, and citizens. Together, they aimed to map areas at high risk of crime, improve crime-reporting mechanisms, and enhance nighttime visibility through the repair of existing street lights and expansion of the street light network’s coverage.
Although the commitment sought to enhance civic participation by creating or improving opportunities for the public to inform or influence government decisions, there is very little evidence that the commitment has achieved this goal. Although the STMA improved visibility in certain parts of the city, this was not done in collaboration with citizens nor through citizen watch groups. Thus, considering the limited completion of this commitment, in terms of the OGP value placed on civic participation, the IRM researcher has seen no change as a result of the implementation of this commitment.
Moving forward, the STMA should consider carrying over this commitment to enhance participation of community members in the formulation of security policies. However, the commitment could go beyond the improvement of crime-reporting mechanisms and give community members the opportunity to collaborate in policy design. International Development Research Centre, “Crime and the ‘poverty penalty’ in urban Ghana.” 2016 https://www.idrc.ca/sites/default/files/sp/Documents%20EN/idrc-crime-and-the-poverty-penalty-in-urban-ghana-letter-online-and-office-printing.pdf.
 Transparency International, Overview of Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Ghana, 2010. https://www.transparency.org/files/content/corruptionqas/271_Corruption_and_anti_corruption_in_Ghana.pdf.
 IDRC “Crime and the ‘Poverty Penalty.’” 2016
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