Facilitating colonial exploitation of resources of the Gold Coast: The role of the Police force, 1894-1914
Keywords:Policing, Exploitation, Protectorate, Brutality, Constable
Euro-African interactions between the 15th and 20th centuries were mainly motivated by the desire to exploit the economic resources of Africa. To ensure a peaceful exploitation of resources in the Gold Coast, the British policed their forts and castles for the peaceful conduct of trade. Even though policing in the Gold Coast was not a structured institution before its official establishment in 1894 by the British, it was an important institution in the administration of the colony. After the enactment of the 1894 ordinance, the Gold Coast Constabulary was renamed the Gold Coast Police Force. The police institution from this period operated under a standardized structure in the British-controlled areas of the Gold Coast. Using information from archival and secondary sources, this paper explores within a historical context, the extent to which the colonial Police Force facilitated the exploitation of the resources of the Gold Coast between 1894 and 1914. To achieve this, the study looks at the changing structure andfunctions of the Gold Coast Police Force from 1894 to 1914. One key argument of this paper is that to ensure a peaceful exploitation of colonial resources, the colonial government upon investing heavily in infrastructure (roads, railways, and communication), set up the Police Force to protect these investments. Moreover, the British economic interest and policy outcomes (acquisition of resources of the Gold Coast) between 1894 and 1914 dictated the structure and functions of the Police Force for the peaceful conduct of trade. The paper finally demonstrates that through the performance of the Gold Coast Police Force, the British by the end of 1914 had vastly exploited the resources of the Gold Coast to their advantage.