Variations in Police Performance in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Domestic Policing in Ghana

  • Festus Kofi Aubyn West Africa Network for Peacebuilding
Keywords: policing, UN peacekeeping, assemblage theory, Ghana


The Ghana Police Service is constantly criticised by the Ghanaian public for poor performance and an inability to deal effectively with rising crime rates. Media reports and scholarly research have corroborated these criticisms, citing instances of police brutality, corruption, negligence, ineffectiveness and complicity in crimes. However, with few exceptions, the same police are widely applauded in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their professionalism, outstanding performance, and contributions to restoring peace and the rule of law. This raises the question of why the police’s performance at home differs from its performance in peacekeeping contexts. This article analyses the factors that underpin the perceived variations in police performance at home and internationally. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with relevant stakeholders and the application of assemblage theory to the empirical evidence gathered, it argues that perceived variations in performance have nothing to do with the technical competencies and knowledge of police personnel. Rather, this discrepancy can be explained by factors including: the effects of the colonial legacy on the police; different mandates/tasks in mission and in Ghana; distinct socio-cultural and political dynamics that influence policing; different legal frameworks and principles that govern domestic and international policing; limited availability of human and logistical resources and funding for domestic policing; and different methods for dealing with indiscipline and corruption.

Keywords: policing, UN peacekeeping, assemblage theory, Ghana