Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said the Federal Government would soon announce new policy on community policing for better service delivery.
Mr. Osinbajo disclosed this at the presentation and launch of a book ‘Law on Prevention and Detection of Crimes by the Police in Nigeria’ in Abuja.
He was represented by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojodu.
Mr. Osinbajo said that this would pave the way for modern policing in the country.
“There is no way we can continue with the way we are going with policing now,” he said.
He assured that the establishment of community policing would not take away the powers of the national police.
The acting president said that sitting down in Abuja to police other remote parts of the country was not practicable any longer.
“For us to continue this old way of policing our country, I don’t think it can work and it is not working. We have to look at other parts of the world, how they are doing it,” he said.
He said the fear about decentralisation of the police was not tenable as it could be addressed.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo said that the establishment of state police would go a long way to check crime and criminality in the country.
“We cannot police the over 180 million Nigerians from Abuja, we cannot run away from state police,” Mr. Obaseki said.
The Chairman of the occasion, former governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, said that one of the pitfalls of the Nigerian society was the near absence of institutional memoir.
“These state organs will have their responsibilities strictly codified and will be made to work alongside and in concert with the national police.
He said that the book had documented over 35 years of service experience and added to the repertoire of scarce institutional knowledge in Nigerian policing.
Mr. Duke, who also supported the establishment of state police, said that it should be made to work alongside the national police.
He disagreed with the author that state police if established would be abused by the states.
“I must say however, that I disagree with the author’s position that state policing, though theoretically ideal, will be abused.
“The fear of abuse can be mitigated by an oversight responsibility or authority by the Commissioner of police in the State or a State Police regulatory commission.
“The decentralisation of policing and presence is the greatest deterrent to crime and allows for better monitoring and intelligence gathering,” he said.
He called for the review of entry levels into the Nigeria Police Force from OND to HND, adding that aptitude tests should be introduced for entry and promotions.
Mr. Duke noted that constant training and retraining was a key requirement for keeping up with the dynamics of a 21st century policing.
He called for the abolition of building barracks for personnel of the force.
“The barracks practice must be abrogated, the police ought to live amongst the people and not amongst themselves,” he said.
The former governor said that the barracks were conceived to protect the expatriate colonial administrators from the rest of the civil population.
He said that the practice of cross postings of police officers should be stopped or at least limited.
“A fellow from Sokoto posted to a command in Ekiti could require at least 6 -12 months to understand his environment and then off he goes again on another posting,” he said.
Earlier, Solomon Arase, a former Inspector-General of Police and author of the book, said that policing in the 21st century must evolve into a knowledge-driven system befitting the country’s democratic values.
He said that the proceeds from the sale of the book would be used to support children of the rank and files and officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
“I have resolved to commit the proceeds of this book toward extending scholarships to children of members of the police force.
“Toward this end, I have already incorporated the Solomon Arase Foundation which will coordinate this initiative on a sustainable basis,” he said.
He said that a law officer within the criminal justice system that lacks professional knowledge was a danger to the justice delivery framework of the country.
Mr. Arase said that an average police officer in modern policing must understand the law to be able to enforce it.
The book reviewer, David Badaiki of Edo State University, said the book identified the absence of transparency and professionalism in operations of the police in the country.
He said that the 332- page book also identified police and community relations as key to crime prevention.
In attendance were five former Inspectors-General of Police, representative of the Inspector-General of Police and representatives of the service chiefs among others.