The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, said corruption has drastically reduced amongst police personnel despite several allegations of bribery and corruption against the force.
Mr. Idris made this known on Tuesday at a stakeholder’s workshop tagged “Speaking for the Nigerian Police Force” organised by CLEEN foundation held at Nicon Luxury Hotels, Abuja.
The forum is a two-day capacity building training on “Effectiveness Communication and Public Relations in Nigeria” under its Law Enforcement and Public Engagement project in Nigeria organised for Police spokespersons.
The IGP, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Habila Joshack, said Public Relations Department of the Nigeria Police Force is relentless on its effort to forestall further denting of its public image.
“Since the creation of Nigeria Police Public Relations department in 1961, it has evolved over the years with the trends of existing governments and has consistently worked towards the implementation of its mandate.
“However, the conduct of some police personnel has caused serious image for the Force whereby the duties of some police officers have been compromised because of some social maladies plaguing the country as whole. Chiefly, among these is corruption which permeates both the public and private sectors of the country”, he said.
The police chief, who is also accused of corruption by a senator, noted that some ”internal working mechanisms” have been introduced by the present police management and “it is yielding positive result to a large extent as incidents of corruption has drastically reduced in the Force.”
“It is common to hear allegations of corruption, incompetency, unprofessional conducts and other questionable practices that have nothing to do with normal police duty or maintenance of law and other being levelled against a few police officers.
“This is premised on our firm conviction that if the image of the Police Force is not good before the public, the effectiveness of the police towards fighting crime and reducing corruption (may be affected)”, he added.
In his reaction earlier, Benson Olugbuo, executive director, CLEEN Foundation, said his organisation had the mission to hold public institutions including the police accountable to the people.
“The foundation has the objective of promoting public safety, security and access to justice. And we do that through empirical research, legislative advocacy and publications in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector.
“We are working closely with the Nigeria police Force to consciously promote its image as well as build community relationship and trust for the institution with some of our projects which include the ‘stop the bribe campaign’, the police station visitor’s week, for the purpose of improving police neighbourhood relationship and by extension, building community trust”.
Apart from perceived endemic corruption in the police, the Nigeria Police Force was recently rated the worst in the world by the World Internal Security and Police Index International, WISPI.
The 2016 report rates the Nigeria Police Force the “worst” globally in terms of its ability to handle internal security challenges.
Tuesday’s event was attended by Emmanuel Ojukwu, Provost, Public Relations School of the Nigeria Police Force; Fatima Mohammed, National Human Rights Commission representative; the Market Women Association led by Hadiza Ishaku; and 32 police command spokespersons across the nation.
The representative of the market women association, Mrs. Ishaku, in her remarks appealed to the federal government to adequately equip the Nigeria Police to enable them tackle internal security challenges effectively.