Advances in Applied Sociology
Vol.07 No.05(2017), Article ID:76399,29 pages

The Incidence of Money Collected by the Ghana Police from Drivers during Routine Traffic Stops and Ad Hoc Road Blocks

Ishmael D. Norman1,2, Daniel Dzidzonu1, Mark A. Aviisah1, Forgive Norvivor1, Wisdom Takramah1, Margaret Kweku1

1Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, School of Public Health, Hohoe Campus, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana

2Institute for Security, Disaster and Emergency Studies Sandpiper Place, Langma, Ghana

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: March 13, 2017; Accepted: May 21, 2017; Published: May 24, 2017


It is often said the Ghana Police force is corrupt without collaborating evidence. There is very little attempt to differentiate specific branches of the force from each other. There are those, whose Standard Operating Procedures involves road traffic duties, and those whose SOPs do not expose them to driver inducement to bribes. We conducted baseline, cross-sectional nation-wide study to determine the incidence of the police collecting money from drivers to support or rebut the perception and the reality of police corruption with specific attention to only traffic related corrupt practices. This study therefore relates only to the narrow issue of traffic-stop-driver-Police-bribery-and-cor- ruption. The High Police such as the Bureau of National Investigation and the Economic and Organized Crime Office, were excluded as not forming an intrinsic part of the police force engaged in mundane road traffic police functions. We found evidence that supported the research question: That the Ghana Police engages in active intimidation of drivers, extract and demand for money from drivers of all classifications for cause and without cause. The traffic Police conduct these activities in the most blatant and public manner. These activities have contributed to the lessening of respect for the profession, the rule of law, and the general public belief that justice in Ghana correlates to size of expenditure to bribe law enforcement operatives. Road traffic corruption undermines road safety programs, national efforts to reduce money laundering or cross-border movement of terrorists and narcotics drug smuggling cells. This may have a linkage to the rising road traffic fatalities in significant ways. National action to arrest the diminishing respect for the Police is also needed.


Traffic Police, Corruption, Professional Misconduct, Diminished Police Respect, Ghana

1. Introduction

The Ghana Police Service was established by an act of Parliament, Act 350, 1970 with certain enumerated functions against which the police is to work to suppress, reduce and, if possible, eliminate crime. These include bribery and corruption prevention, as well as the prevention of harassment and extortion of money, chia, and gifts from motorists. This study has been made necessary by the fact that the Ghana Police Force, which is charged with maintaining law and order on the highways and roads in Ghana, have themselves become a hybrid of “highway robbers”, who organize road blocks every 100 kilometers or less to check for, among others, smuggling and crime and drivers with expired vehicular and driver licenses and stamp duties. The Police under the color of the law and authority stop vehicles supposedly to check for crime and traffic offenses but end up shaking down drivers for various sums of money (National Road Safety Commission, 2010, 2015) .

Background to Police Corruption

The literature on police corruption in Ghana and in Sub-Sahara Africa appears to be skewed towards “analysis for police corruption” (Atuguba, 2007: p. 1) . The focus should rather be on “analysis of police corruption”. This is because analysis for police corruption contains a presupposition that the police is found corrupt and the evidence is available to us. Analysis of police corruption, however, assumes no such premises and thus searches for the evidence epidemiologically and empirically. Since the evidence in the published literature on police corruption points towards proving that there is corruption in the police force; without basing the determination on the resolution of contested judicial or reported cases; the evidence is neither particularly probative nor convincing of such a charge. The evidence, for want of a better nomenclature, tends to be anecdotal with many evidentiary weaknesses and high emotional content. Allegations and anec- dotal evidence of corruption against the Ghana Police appear to be well reported in both published papers and in grey literature (ASDR, 2010; GAS, 2008; Atuguba, 2007; UNODC, 2005) . Many of such allegations were based on unproven offenses and were not factually documented. This does not augur well with a credible homeland security program run by the police administration and The Ministry of Interior (2008) . The Police Force is the first responder in matters of crime, violence, and corrupt practices of which bribery and the receipt of bribes form part of police investigation and control. When the police cannot control itself from corrupt practices, it is difficult for the police to fulfill its objective as a crime fighting and security promoting agency. This is due to the awesome responsibilities the police have in the maintenance of law and order in a dynamic and financially growing population (GSS, 2010; Abbink, 2000; Abbink et al., 2002; World Bank, 1996, 1999) . In this study, we approached the investigation of the issue from the lens of “analysis of police corruption”. The term corruption is used in layman’s speech and in legal language to refer to many offences some of which are misdemeanors. Others are so serious that they carry long prison sentences or heavy fines as in white collar crimes or the bribery of government officials (Sam 2013; Chêne, 2010) . It also includes petty misappropriation of employer stationery or sale of official documents (UNODC, 2005; Agbodeka, 1992; Agbodolu & Quarmyne, 2014) .

There is a general thinking among the population that the police is corrupt, even in situations where and when the police conduct is far from corruption but something else. For example, in the general pedestrian usage of the word “corruption”, human rights abuse by the police such as search and seizure of one’s personal effects without a warrant or even no reading the “Miranda” rights of a suspect to him at the time of his arrest may be included. However, in a strict sense, the inclusion of human rights abuse in police corruption would be misplaced. A more appropriate description would be simply the allegation of the abuse of the human rights of another by the police for denying, for example, bail to the suspect in non-capital offense charge after the passage of the legally and constitutionally permissible holding period. An event involving the police’s mal-handling of criminal suspects, intentionally arresting a suspect on Friday evening at 5:00 p.m., when such an arrest could have been done earlier on, and with full knowledge that the judiciary would be on weekend break, could be described as an act of corruption if there is prior inducement of the police to do so by another. In this instance, the police is using its legitimate and apparent arrest powers for gain or pleasure. By subjecting another person to ill treatment such as temporary incarceration beyond the constitutionally permissible holding period of 48 hours or 72 hours as the charge may require, due to the inducement of superior authority or after the receipt of financial gain from an interested party to the case is a blatant sale of justice. Foot-dragging on a case or investigation when it comes to preparing a docket for prosecution of political opponents, or enemy of the people as in the case of terror suspects or serial murderers, are more like the abuses of professional ethics, constitutional provisions and the civil liberties of the suspect and not a straight case of corruption per se (Atuguba 2007; ASDR, 2010; Sam 2013) .

Another situation which needs better characterization is the public’s lack of understanding of the different types of policing within the general police apparatus. The police administration is a big unit with different sub-types of policing and Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs, a fact which the public does not seem to appreciate. There are many police officers who may never conduct road blocks in their entire police careers. The professional members of the police force such as lawyers, doctors, dentist, midwives, nurses, matrons, mechanics, engineers, ICT personnel and human resources officers may never have to conduct road blocks and may never have to interrogate a single driver about his car documents or his manner of driving. Such professionals are the back-bone of the police organization whose duty is to maintain and manage the Service for smooth operations. The public does not differentiate between street level “community” policing and high policing either (Norman, 2009; Brodeur 2007) . Often when the public thinks of a corrupt police apparatus, they have in mind street level, community type of policing, money collected by the police during traffic stops and not the more sophisticated wing such as the Bureau of National Investigation or Economic and Organized Crime Office as well as the National Security Unit. Incidentally, even seasoned researchers tend to confuse the discussion of corruption with both types of policing, which is equivalent to; for example; charging a burglar of a liquor store with treason as if the two are synonymous. The charge of treason would be appropriate if the burglar also sold state’s secrets during the burglary at the liquor store (Sam, 2013; ASDR, 2010; GAS, 2008; Atuguba, 2007; UNODC, 2005: pp. 33-37) .

1) Defining corruption among street level police

We would concentrate the discussion on the street level policing for now. Notice that in addition to not properly segregating the charge of corruption from one division of the police apparatus to the other, there is also the vexing issue of how to define what constitutes corruption for the purpose of establishing legal responsibility for a given conduct. In community policing, the officers assigned to a specific neighborhood, need to be savvy about community entry, community engagement, and assimilation. These are all essential entry requirements that would endear the officer to the community leaders, potential informers and the community as a whole. There is some amount of blending of rules and boundaries by the officer in order to be accepted in that community, be he/she an officer stationed at a Lorry station, intersection of major roads, or at a shopping Mall. Over time, the officer becomes part of the community. At some point, the officer is an epitome of that community. When such processes are completed, it is difficult for the officer to know when to cross the line of professionalism and when to peel back. At the risk of justifying corrupt traffic police conduct, it is incumbent on the authors to be realistic and professional in the characterization of this conduct. At the street level policing, the acceptance of tokens from drivers by the traffic police to ignore a traffic violation which could be a misdemeanor or otherwise, may not even occur to the traffic police that the demand and acceptance of such tokens fall into the conventional definition of corruption (ASDR, 2010; GAS, 2008; Atuguba, 2007; UNODC, 2005: pp. 33-37) .

Due to the loose definition of corruption by society, it presents epidemiologic challenges in terms of the determination of the incidence of corruption. In Ghana and many other Sub-Sahara African nations, the general view about the most corrupt professional group is often said to be the police (UNODC, 2005; Bond, 2006; Di Tella & Schargrodsky, 2003) . Reporting research on corruption in the general population, the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (2005) stated that “only a small amount of bribery cases are reported to the police constituting (0.002%) or 16.7% of the respondents in Africa”, and that “there is a major discrepancy between citizen’s experiences and the official figures for corruption in both Africa and elsewhere”. Although this report was not specifically about police corruption, it provides insight into the quantum of police corruption there is, with respect to narcotics drugs. Government of Ghana through the National Road Safety Commission’s report on ECOWAS’ Improved Road Transport Governance, IRTG of 2010 is patently aware of the money being extorted from drivers by the police and how frequently they do it (NRSC, 2010: pp. 4-5) .

The police force in Ghana is growing in size proportionate to the population. In 2008 the Police Administration boasted of staff strength of about 22,610 with a ratio of one police officer to 900 people (GAS, 2008) . The recommended United Nations ratio is one police officer to 500 people for optimal security maintenance within a municipality. The national Police Service projected its workforce to reach 40,000 by 2010. The authors attempted to validate whether this goal had been reached but to no avail. However, assuming the goal had been reached, the 40,000 personnel would produce a ratio of one police officer to 613 people assuming a population of 24.5 million people (GAS, 2008: p. 5) . If the target has been reached already, it is a great and commendable goal, and a boost to homeland security. For the police to perform its functions well, a number of gaps need to be filled to revamp its image and to strengthen the capacities of its rank and file.

2) Effective law enforcement vis-à-vis the well-being of the force

Although we did not investigate the correlation between the living conditions of the rank and file of the police, we elected to include the well-being of the police in the literature review to gain insight from other sources which may shed light on the police’s perception of well-being and actual living situations, to perhaps, explain their susceptibility to petty corruption. The present construct of the police system in Ghana with many other nations in the sub-region does not lend to effective intelligence gathering or law enforcement policing culture. Police administration and facilities are neglected and, in the case of Ghana, the bulk of the force lives and works in squalor. The police stations in Ghana are dilapidated, odious and congested places with many occupational and ergonomic risks. For example, even within the city of Accra, Ghana’s capital, there are police posts (which are converted 40-foot containers) with no running water, no toilet and with very little ventilation. In the hot scorching sun, the heat in some of these posts can be so unbearable, the resolution of such a discomfort with a chilled bottle of beer in a watering spot near-by, ought to be very attractively tempting. The phenomenon of neglect of workers human rights practiced either officially or unofficially in Ghana, appears to show the national penchant for housing its police in decrepit places and in disorderly living situations. This is because the conditions of housing and assigning offices of the Ghana Police are well-known, well-articulated and well-documented substantive facts. Although the personnel enjoy nationally reasonably high levels of salaries and should have made the force less susceptible to petty bribes (sometimes as little as US $1.00 or less; particularly during ad hoc road blocks and traffic checks), they cannot help redeem themselves from such morally corrosive conduct (Rose-Ackerman, 2004; Van Rijckeghem & Weder, 2001; Le, de Haan, & Dietzenbacher, 2013; Foltz & Opoku-Agyemang, 2015) . Foltz and Opoku-Agyemang (2015) examined data on 2100 long-haul journeys in West Africa, a feature so common within the zone of the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS. They found that Ghana’s police became more corrupt after their salaries increased, both absolutely and relative to Burkina Faso’s police and Ghana Customs Officers. The cops erected more roadblocks, detained Lorries for longer (the average driver was stopped 16 times as he drove through Ghana, for eight minutes each time) and extracted more money. Economic theory suggests the opposite should have happened (Foltz & Opoku-Agyemang, 2015; The Economist, 2016) . The question begging to be asked is why? This is a challenge to researchers and policy formulators, and the government, but there are no easy answers for this phenomenon among the section of police in Ghana that conducts traffic checks.

Moving on, the police in the meantime, seem to be trapped in a “police cultural relativism”. That is to say, because they are the police force, they ought to have a different moral code from not only the national population but the police forces everywhere, when it comes to bribery and corruption. That, because of their claim to subsist under a different moral code, the rest of the society of Ghana and police forces everywhere cannot evaluate their conduct and categorize their conduct as immoral, illegal and unprofessional (Norman & Norman, 2016; Norman & Aviisah, 2015; Brodeur, 2007; Onyeozili, 2005; Rachels, 2003) . Such ethical relativist thinking may explain why the Ghana traffic police is demonstrably unabashed about taking or even demanding money from motorists in the open and to the observance of anyone who cares to look and even stare at that behavior, including children.

3) Is It All Perception and Fables of Corruption Leveled Against the Ghana Police?

In Ghana, the national police are considered corrupt for good reason. Perhaps, apart from the high incidence of extortionist demand for money reported in the results section of this paper among the traffic (Low) police, the (High) police apparatus has had its own dossier of shame and criminal behavior. For example, in 2008, over 70 parcels of seized cocaine in the custody of the Ghana Bureau of National Investigations, BNI, (which is equivalent to the FBI in the US), and which were under the electronic and live watch of both CCTV cameras and guards, got missing from the BNI strong room which have never been found. On another occasion, 14th December 2011 edition of the Daily Graphic, the newspaper reported that:

“The Accra Circuit Court was puzzled as to how a substance alleged to be cocaine which was seized from an accused person, confirmed by the Police to be cocaine after testing and weighing 1020 grams, later turned out to be sodium carbonate (commonly known as washing soda) after another test by the Ghana Standards Board on the orders of the Court. Other media reports stated the same. Subsequently, the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service and the Narcotics Control Board held a Press Conference on the matter and petitioned Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, Georgina Woods to investigate the conduct of the Accra Circuit Court and its trial Judge, His Honor Eric Kyei Baffour over the disappearance of 1020 grams of cocaine exhibit which was kept in the custody of the court” (Georgina Woods Commission, 2012) .

On many documented occasions, the BNI has allowed itself to be used by the government operatives and other politicians to intimidate suspected opponents. Under conspiracy theories fabricated by the government agents against opponents, the BNI has failed to examine the information and people presenting the information and acted against the perceived perpetrators. The BNI in some cases tend to develop crime theories too hastily and then act with equal haste. It is observed that part of the reasons why the High Police even is susceptible to corrupting influences and actions is because collectively speaking, they do not seem to have proper grounding as the guidance of democracy and civil liberties. Onyeozili (2005) in his analysis of policing in Nigeria, informed us that “the employment of police resources to advance the colonial political agenda shaped the future of policing as an agency of oppression in Nigeria. The style of policing in Commonwealth Africa is one of the legacies from colonial rule and the psychology that underlined its beginnings in Africa remains the same even today throughout most of the nations. When it comes to recruitment, retention and promotion of personnel, ability to follow drill commands, law-and-order maintenance and riot suppression functions of the police are emphasized”. In former British West Africa, the qualifications for the officer cadre, like those of the Assistant Commissioner of Police until 1897, were “a sound knowledge of drill” in addition to a “clear practical knowledge of criminal law as well as a sober judgment and great personal energy” (Brodeur, 2007; Onyeozili, 2005) . Not much has changed today in terms of basic entrance qualifications of police men and women in Ghana and in many African countries, with the result being that in some locales, some police officers cannot even write incident report, do not speak good English, do not read beyond the elementary school level, and cannot carry out reliable criminal investigation or even offer a good narrative of their duties and events. There is also a phenomenal growth in the number of police officers with first and second degrees and even doctoral degrees. The issue is not how many of the senior cadre hold advance degrees. The issue is with the training and formation, as well as staff development of the “beat” police. When it comes to training, the average new recruit, at least in the case of Ghana, he/she receives 30 days of weapons training, most of which is actually spent on theory with only about 5 days of actual gun handling and target practice at a shooting range. These are just a few lapses and gaps that need to be filled. As an institution, the police is not supportive of staff members that desire to have higher educational training.

2. Conclusion to the Literature Review

The Literature review provides enough information to the nature of police corruption. The police is used to receiving money in exchange of the intentional withdrawal of sanction, caution or arrest of motorists and drivers for road traffic offenses, drunk-driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs, speeding, smuggling, misdemeanor or non-compliance with the road traffic rules and regulations (Brady & Li, 2013; Hingson & White, 2010; Klitgaard, 1998) .

3. Methods

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of money collected by the traffic police from drivers during their routine checks. We also sought to find out how these monies are paid, and the effects of driver-police bribery acts on the image of the police force and the behaviour of drivers. The participants were mostly in the transport industry as commercial drivers of small to medium size vehicles, commuter taxi vehicles who ply their trade within Ghana. While we recognise the limitation of not including personnel of the police service as participants in the sample, we decided not to include the police as respondents because of bias. The study objective was not to assess how the police saw itself in the corruption perception of their profession but what they actually did as they interfaced with the public during routine traffic stops, ad hoc road blocks and organized check points (Klockars, 1999: pp. 208-209; Leys, 1965: p. 215; Sherman, 1978: p. 187; Skogan & Frydl, 2004: pp. 268-269) . We are satisfied that our choice of participants provided credible information about police corrupt practices in which they had either personally engaged or seen others engaged (Bayley 1995) .

3.1. Study Design and Field Work

In order to address the objective of this study, we conducted a cross-sectional empirical study, collecting data in all the 10 administrative regions of Ghana. We administered 2000 semi-structured questionnaires comprising 68 items covering thematic areas of interest to the study. These served as the main source of primary data. In December of 2015, a pilot test of the items in the questionnaire was conducted in Hohoe, Volta Region. The result from the pilot informed further tweaking of the research instrument before field deployment. Letters of introduction were signed by the Dean of the School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences to assist the research assistants in their work. All 200 each of the questionnaires were administered in each of the 10 administrative regions of Ghana between the months of January and February, 2016 by two research assistants who were further assisted by experienced public health nurses in the respective zones with the districts. Drivers in selected bus stations (trotror―local parlance) who commuted within each region and inter-regionally over fairly long distances of over one hundred kilometres one way, who encountered the police almost every trip of their journey were included. The questionnaires were also administered to drivers of private cars who were encountered at the bus stations. In Ghana, there are private vehicle owners who occasionally turn their vehicles into temporary commercial transport to raise extra cash for themselves.

3.2. Sample Size Determination and Date Management

The Department of Vehicles Licensing Authority estimated that there were about 1 million vehicles in use in Ghana as of 2008. Since this period the nation has moved from low income to middle income nation status. In addition the population has grown from about 24 million in 2010 to about 28.5 million in 2016 conservatively. With that enlargement of people, the number of vehicles on the roads have also grown proportionately. We estimated that given the overall economic situation and growth over the last eight years, the number of vehicles were at least 1.3 million in 2016 when the data was collected. We assumed a composite sample size of N-2000. We also assumed 20% of the commercial drivers were engaged in bribery of the traffic police on a daily basis or that the police extorted money from them daily. This yielded sample size of 1710 with 90% power to detect an effect size of 30% at 5% significance level. A sample size of 2000 gave a reasonable degree of security against the effects of decline in prevalence rate. We randomly selected one or more municipality or metropolitan area from each of the 10 regions (Rosemary & Valadez, 2013). We randomly selected one or more communities from each of that and then used the random walk method to evaluate lorry parks or stations within each community till the quota for the town or city was met (Milligan et al., 2004). Regional comparisons were made possible due to the selection of representations that were similar in characteristics such as being urban or peri-urban, taxi or mini-bus. The study covered the 10 administrative regions of Ghana. Of the 2000 target respondents approached, only 1780 of them participated in the study. This represents a response rate of 89%. Data input was conducted over time by a team of six National Service personnel attached to the School of Public Health, Hohoe Campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences and the two lead research Assistants under the supervision of co-authors WT, DKD, MNA, and IDN. Notice that data collected were recorded into a semi-structured questionnaire. Thereafter, the data was entered using Microsoft Excel (2010). The data was later transferred to STATA version 11 for analysis. The Chi-square test and cross tabulation were used to explore important relationship between two categorical variables. Fisher’s exact Chi-square test was conducted when one or more of the cells had an expected frequency of five (5) or less and Pearson Chi-square test was also performed when each cell had an expected frequency of five (5) and more. The Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney (non-parametric) test was carried out based on the assumption that the dependent variable used in the model was not normally distributed and it is analogous to the independent sample t test. The Kruskal Wallis which is the non-parametric version of ANOVA was also used to compare the rank sum or average scores in more than two groups. Finally, factorial logistic regression analysis producing results in terms of odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) was performed to investigate and explain the significance or association between dichotomous response variable and two or more categorical independent variables.

3.3. Methodology for the Literature Review

We considered strict inclusion criteria for the papers we reviewed for this article. We searched through newspapers for the period to assess reports of corrupt conduct and activities by the police. We also searched the internet and other data bases such as Google Scholar and Hunari, including journals on finance, management and economics for information, case studies and other research on the issue with carefully designed search combinations. We reviewed literature to reflect; the background to Police Corruption; Defining corruption among street level police; and effective law enforcement vis-à-vis the well-being of the police force. We further tested whether it was all perception and fables of corruption levelled against the Ghana Police and other professional classes in the Sub-Sa- haran African region. We identified Eighty-four (84) publications out of over 100,000 articles, opinions, blogs, grey literature and policy documents. After careful review of these publications fifty (50) met the inclusion criteria. Almost all literature included in our analysis were on corruption in general in various aspects of public life in SSA and not specifically on police corruption as seen in Table A1 in the Appendix. We assigned an overall score and identified the position taken in the publication or report in relation to the objectives. We scored: 1 = Entirely Relevant (ER); 1/2 = Somewhat Relevant (SR); and 0 = Not Relevant at All, (NRaA) against descriptors such as 1) focused on question, 2) literature review, 3) depth of argument on corruption/police, 4) overall conclusion. We rated them and the papers that received scores 2 out of 4 in this evaluation were further analyzed. We summarized the findings into their respective units, and interpreted them based upon our skills, knowledge and specialization in ethics, policy, sociology, public health and law. Emerging themes were analysed and findings summarized into their respective units and interpreted them based upon the authors’ skills, knowledge and specialization in policy and management and in public health in general at the literature review section of the paper.

3.4. Ethical Clearance

We did not seek ethical clearance for this study because, and as reported before, the Ghana Police openly engaged in active extraction and demand for money from drivers of all classifications for cause and without cause, without regard to the onlookers. Issues of privacy, confidentiality and autonomy as derivative of civil liberties, or Hohfeldian rights, so to speak, are presumed macerated or waived, and abandoned by the perpetrators of this social conduct. The traffic Police conduct these activities in the most blatant and public manner. Due to the commonplace nature of the activity, ethical clearance would not have added any level of protection to the civil liberties of the perpetrators. Observations and the information collected in this data-set were given without cohesion, intimidation, or force but with the consent and concurrence of the station managers, the drivers and their mates. The participants were duly informed of the purpose of the study, the decision to participate was taken by them as competent individuals who had received the necessary information and who had adequately understood the purpose of the study and the uses of the information to be collected. They, after considering the information, arrived at the decision to participate without having been subjected to coercion, undue influence or inducement or intimidation (Norman, 2016; FDA, 2015; CIOMS, 2002) .

3.5. Study Limitations

As stated beforehand, we chose not to include the police in the respondents due to bias. We were also interested in the actual experiences of commercial drivers of small to medium size vehicles in interfacing with the police on the road, and not how the police saw itself. We recognize that commercial drivers may not be natural allies of the police, but may harbor ill-feelings towards the police due to their oversight of driver activities on the roads. For this reason alone, the data collected may be biased but we have no other way of conducting cross-sectional study of this nature soliciting information about the actual experiences of respondents. Nonetheless, the data collection, and the conclusions drawn are instructional to the Ghana Police and those in the Sub-Saharan Africa with respect to how they conduct traffic duties.

4. Result

Basic Demographics of Respondents and Interpretation

One thousand, seven hundred and eighty (1788/2000) respondents participated in this study, which was conducted nation-wide in all 10 administrative regions of Ghana. The mean age of the respondents was 36.3 (±8.6). The maximum and mi- nimum age of respondents were 67 and 11 respectively. The socio-demographic characteristics of respondents are presented in Table 1. The results shows that, respondents were predominantly males 1701 (95.6%) whiles, females represents 77 (4.4%). This phenomenon is explained thus, Ghana is a male dominated or oriented society. Almost 99.9% of the commercial drivers are males. When it comes to long distant driving, even if the females know how to drive, the tendency between, for example, couples is for the husband, boy-friend or partner to drive. This outcome may be attributable to laziness of the females in choosing not to drive, but rather relax and have the males do all the long distant driving. It may also be the sheer control of the males over the females when it comes to performing traditionally male dominated roles such as driving. The lack of proficiency with driving over longer distances by the females, may also be a significant reason, since the average female driver in Ghana learns how to drive much later in life compared to the males and may not want to risk driving along busy highways. Of the 1780 respondents, majority 1277 (71.7%) were Christians. Quarter 363 (20.4%) of the respondents were Muslims. Only 57 (3.2%) were traditionalists whiles 12 (0.2%) belonged to other religions. Educational level of respondents was high 643 (36.1%) at the secondary level. This was followed by primary 612 (34.4%) and tertiary 56 (3.2%). The respondents with no level of education were 453 (25.5%), which was higher than those with tertiary level of education. By tertiary level of education, it is meant here any level beyond the senior secondary school education, and which may include, Polytechnique, Teacher training, Community college and College and drivers represent 7(0.7%), station masters were 49 (2.8%) while taxi drivers were 17 (1.0%). University education. More than half 1592 (89.4%) of the respondents were commercial drivers. Bookmen represents 22 (1.2%), engineers represents 39 (2.2%), mates represents 54 (3.0%), private car drivers.

1) Amount of money collected from respondents

Table 2 depicts the amount of money drivers offered to the police personnel at

Table 1. Basic demographics of respondents.

Table 2. Amount of money collected from respondents.

the various road blocks or stops they drove through. Commercial drivers were the highest group who offered money to the police. The majority of the respondents (87.6%) offered GH¢2.00 bribe to the police, were commercial drivers whiles 4% of respondents who were mate offeredGH¢2.00 each.

Almost all 947 (92.4%) commercial drivers offered amounts ranging from GH¢2 to 3.9 followed by engineers 24 (2.3%), mates 17 (1.7%), station masters and bookmen 14 (1.4%), taxi drivers 8(0.8%) and private drivers 1 (0.1%).

Commercial drivers represents the largest group 142 (78.5) that offered money above GH¢4.00 compared to other categories. However, only a handful of the mates 14 (7.7%) offered more than GH¢4.00 followed by stationmasters 13 (7.2%), bookmen and engineers 14 (2.8%) and taxi drivers 2 (1.1%). It was noticed that private drivers felt reluctant to offer money above GH¢4.00. Private drivers tend to be people “who know” their rights as citizens and tend to spend long periods arguing with the traffic police on why they should not be cited for court but rather to make on the spot payment to the police without receipt. There was a relationship between amount collected and employment status (χ2 = 64.3182, p-value ≤ 0.0001, α = 0.05), which may explain private driver abhorrence towards police corruption, which is a good effect.

2) Testing the Condition of Ill-Feeling towards the Police due to bribery

Table 3 provides the outcome of ranking of the variables to assess ill-feelings towards the police, using Kruskal-Wallis rank-sum test. This was conducted to establish whether the condition of ill feeling towards the police was the same across the demographics at 0.05 level of significance. Curiously, the condition of ill feeling towards the police was not the same across marital status (χ2 = 20.803, p-value = 0.009). Perhaps, this outcome can be explained by the fact that some of the respondents may have been spouses, friends, relatives, and acquaintances of police officers. Among both males and females, the condition of ill feeling towards the police was the same (χ2 = 0.018, p-value = 0.8930).

Generally, there was a statistically significant relation between educational level and ill feeling but the general ill-feeling was not sustained measured against the Kruskul-Wallis test. The condition of ill feeling was not the same across the level of education of respondents (χ2 = 32.188, p-value = 0.0001). Again across the various occupations, the condition of ill feeling towards the police was not the same (χ2 = 17.740, p-value = 0.0069). Those with, perhaps, sophisticated jobs or with higher level of education or higher social antecedents may harbor a more intense ill-feeling towards the police for collecting money from drivers even if they themselves engage in rent-seeking behaviors of their own. Their disgust may be a result of the value of the money that the police may be collecting from drivers, but not as a result of this negative social conduct, since corruption appears to be generally common among the professions.

3) Demographics and Ill-Feeling towards the Police

In Table 4, using the mean score TO assess the condition of ill feeling towards the police, we found that ill-feeling was more common among other religion with a mean of 5.5 compared to Christians with a mean of 4.3, Muslims with a

Table 3. Mean score of ill feeling towards the police.

mean of 4.5 and traditionalist with a mean of 3.4.

Although in the previous table, (Table 3) the reverse was true that among married respondents, the condition of ill-feeling was low compared to other marital groups such as those divorced or separated, here, the condition of Ill feeling among the same married respondents towards the police, appears high with a mean of 4.5 followed by those divorced with a mean of 4.3, those separated with a mean of 4.2, those cohabiting with a mean of 4.1 and single respondents with a mean of 4.1. This confirms that affinity to the police may have influenced the respondents assessment and ranking of ill-feeling. Where the affinity and sanguinity is broken, or strained, it is likely for the respondent to rank the condition

Table 4. Demographic assessment, mean score of ill feeling towards the police.

of ill-feeling high, relatively speaking. The condition was, however uncommon among widowed respondents with a mean of 3.8, signifying empathy towards the police than say the engineer or those with higher education.

The condition when examined among the various employment status, private drivers were seen to exhibit ill feeling towards the police more compared to others. This was followed by taxi drivers with a mean of 4.9, engineers with a mean of 4.6, commercial drivers with a mean of 3.3 and bookmen with a mean of 3.7. However, ill feeling was less predominate among mates with a mean of 3.6.

Notice that Ill feeling among the various educational levels was quite competitive. It was less predominant among respondents with primary educational background with a mean of 4.1 but predominant among respondents with other level of education with a mean of 4.9.

4) How religion correlates to ill-feeling towards the Police

As noted in Table 5, Christians had high level (69.4%) of ill feeling towards the police compared to Muslims (24.4%) and Traditionalist (1.5%). This may equate the high numbers of the population that identify with Christianity in Ghana, rather than a show of higher moral value against corruption over Muslims. It should be put in context that it is generally accepted that Ghana a nation

Table 5. Correlation between religion and ill-feeling towards the police.

with very high incidence/perception of corruption, which is not the monopoly

of one religion but all faiths. However, ill feeling towards the police was low among traditionalist, respondents belonging to other religion as well as those belonging to no religion. Traditionalists tend to believe in the capitalization of wrong doing as the exclusive burden of the perpetrator. They may not want to be judgmental about others conduct, since ultimately, such persons shall receive their just punishment or curse from the natural mystic of life.

There appears to be a display of delusion among the males when it comes to how they equate ill-feelings towards the police since they are more often than not, the largest driver-offenders. The males had high ill feeling (95.9%) towards the police as compared to the females (4.1%). Meanwhile, the males are the highest cohort when it comes to driver-police interface on the road. The males are more likely to over-speed, drink and drive, use narcotics and drive, make dangerous passes and ignore mechanical faults due to a combination of machismo, stupidity and ignorance as well as procrastinating tendencies.

In terms of educational level, those with high level (36.2%) of ill feeling towards the police and low level (80%) ill feeling towards the police had secondary education. Moderate ill feeling was high (38.3%) among those with primary education.

5. Discussion

5.1. Binary Responsibility between the Driving/Public and the Police

Road traffic corruption has a binary feature which takes the driver and the police to complete. The typical driver in Ghana accepts that the Ghana police minding the road blocks are susceptible to bribes. A driver in Hohoe, for example, with no valid vehicular drivers’ license or an expired license, would begin his journey from Hohoe to Accra, via Kpando, Kpeve, Pikealong Asikuma-Juapong-Atim- poku Bridge towards Accra-Tema motorway. This is a 5 to 6 hour journey due to poor road conditions, which to all intents and purposes, would take him through, at least, six (6) police stops and check points. The driver would pack ten GHc2.00 notes, about four separate GHc5.00 notes and a GHc20.00 note into the coin tray in the dashboard or stuff it in the sun visor. At every stop by the police, the driver would sometimes put a GHc2.00 note into the empty pouch of his expired license and hand it over to the officer. There are times the officer may complain that the GHc2.00 is too miniscule and demand for a GHc5.00 note in the open and audibly. Most of the times, the police pockets the GHc2.00 and hands over the empty pouch back to the driver.

5.2. Conclusion

We began this study with the theory that the allegations of police corruption were perhaps, exaggerated. In this study, 1788/2000 respondents reported to have paid GHc2.00 to the police on a single journey of or GH¢3576.00. Assuming each journey has a return component, then the result would be GH¢7152.00. There are over 800,000 vehicles plying the roads of Ghana every single day. If we even assume that only a 25% (200,000) of the vehicular stock in Ghana of the estimated 1.3 million plies the road and interfaces with the traffic police every day, a colossal sum of money is being collected by the police at the expense of motorists and the government of Ghana. What is interesting about the outcome of this paper is that with respect to the traffic police, it is rather fanciful for the security apparatus of Ghana to expect real police work out of them. Due to the focus on collecting money from drivers, which seems to be their main pre-occupation, smugglers of contraband, terror cells, human traffickers and other criminally minded motorists who have the ability to pay reasonably large sums of money to the traffic police at the various check points, basically rule the roads. To this segment of the Ghana police organization, perhaps the road traffic laws and regulations are truly a collective farce.

Cite this paper

Norman, I. D., Dzidzonu, D., Aviisah, M. A., Norvivor, F., Takramah, W., & Kweku, M. (2017). The Incidence of Money Collected by the Ghana Police from Drivers during Routine Traffic Stops and Ad Hoc Road Blocks. Advances in Applied Sociology, 7, 197-225.


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Table A1. Critical analysis of papers that support actual/perceived police corruption argument in SSA.