Alarmed by the increasing cases of violent crimes in the country in the recent time, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris at the weekend re-launched Community Policing Scheme in Abuja with a plea to all and sundry to co -operate with the Police for its success.
The scheme aimed at involving each community in policing their areas in collaboration with the Officers and Men of the Nigeria Police Force was first launched in Enugu State by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 on a pilot scheme.
This came just as the IGP constituted a standing management committee made up of professionals that would oversee the affairs of the re-launched scheme.
Speaking at the re-launching ceremony in Abuja, the IGP pointed out that the pilot phase of the program was aimed at establishing a clear departure from traditional policing, that was reactive and incident based, to a problem–solving oriented policing that was proactive with the community as the cornerstone of policing objectives.
According to him, “it is on this premise that the Nigeria Police Force has made the decision to review and develop a more inclusive strategic guidelines taking into consideration lessons learned from its pilot phase.
“The country is currently grappling with some security challenges evidenced in the escalation of violent conflicts and crimes
“From herdsmen-farmers clashes, insurgency in North-East, resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta and kidnapping for ransom.
“It is obvious that there is a need for a strategic policing approach. So far, we have been successful to some extent in reducing these threats, but with the re-launch of this all encompassing community policing strategy, we shall develop a better interactive relationship that will lead to improved support and cooperation from our various stakeholders
“Past efforts have been made to reform and reposition the Nigeria Police force for enhanced efficiency and professionalism by various Presidential Committees.
“The last of such committees was set up in 2012 and it was tasked with the responsibility of determining the general and specific causes of the collapse of public confidence in the Police, and recommend ways of restoring public trust in the institution amongst others.
“One of the reforms outlined to address this was the need for community policing to be mainstreamed and fully adopted by the Nigeria Police Force.
“This was further emphasised by the recently issued Presidential directive for a nationwide rollout of community policing across the country.”
The IGP assured that the re-launched scheme would work with various community police interactive platforms or initiatives such as the Eminent Persons Forum, which was an initiative currently being employed by the police.
According to him, “these platforms allow opinion leaders from various communities to collaborate with the Police, and contribute to issues relating to the Police and policing in their communities.
“Under the re-engagement plan, access to the Police will be accentuated through the deployment of ICT tools / mechanism including social media platforms and building robust relationship with community grassroots.
He acknowledged that proactive approach to policing would assist to reduce crime and anti-social behavior.
He assured that the community would be encouraged and provided the opportunity to actively participate in its own policing; saying, “When we work together we will be able to mobilise resources to solve problems affecting public safety for the longer term.”
He announced the setting up of a management committee made up of professionals which would be in charge of the scheme and be relating to the Police high Command on its progresses.
According to Idris, members of the Committee are: the Commissioner of Police, Community Policing representing IGP, Professor Olu Ogunsakin, Mrs Kemi Okenyodo, Lt. Col. U.F Abubakar, Representative of Ministry of Justice, Mrs Ovibiagele A. Efelomon and Mr Adeniran Akingbolahan.
The IGP sought “for the cooperation and collaboration of everyone most especially citizens and friends of Nigeria, sister agencies to join hands with the Nigeria Police Force to ensure that the re-launched scheme succeeded.
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