Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Urgent Need for Police Reform - By Dapo Kolawole




Dear Sirs,

As a concerned and tax paying citizen of Nigeria, I am constrained and compelled at this time to offer my opinion on how an efficient ,dynamic and 21st Century Police force should be structured and administered.

This would be itemized under the following points:


There is no doubt about this that a highly motivated force based on an enhanced remuneration and reward system would carry out their tasks of protecting the lives and properties the citizens of a country without compromising their conscience and values. The police officers salary should be commensurate with their counterparts in the private sector. This would go a long way to prevent corruption, enhance the psyche of the officers, and increase their morale by making sure they are economically empowered to compete in the same market where their fellow well paid citizens also access.

Also the reward system in terms of promotions and preferential postings should be overhauled and strictly based on performance. There must be a set of key performance indexes which may be measured on a quarterly or half year basis.

A good pay and reward system would attract good brains that have character. If am well paid on my job, I will not be looking for bribes or ways of circumventing the law.


For any Police force to be highly effective, they must be equipped with fast moving vehicles that are installed with a nationwide VHF (Very High Frequency) radio system for communication with colleagues and other security agencies, plus a constantly updated database of all registered License plates, and drivers’ license showing history of vehicle ownership. A highly visible police presence on its own can act as deterrence to criminals and all criminal tendencies.

We must ensure fast moving, efficient, durable and highly equipped vehicles must be acquired for the police in order to guarantee their performance. Also unmarked police vehicles should be used to patrol black spots like train and bus terminals, highways, dark areas, expressways prone robberies e.g.Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Benin-Ore, the Northern and eastern highways. As a matter of expediency, all police officers on duty should be equipped with walkie talkies (hand held radios).Provision of APCs’ (Armored Personnel carrier) and modern weapons to combat high scale crime is also needed.

For ease of maintenance of the vehicles purchased, arrangement should be made with the suppliers and manufactures of the vehicles to establish maintenance workshops in the different zones of the police commands. This would reduce cost of maintenance, eradicate corruption and prolong the life span of the vehicles. Drivers and users of the vehicles should be lectured on the proper usage of the vehicle.


The police barracks and stations are no go areas in terms of hygiene, portable water supply and electricity supply. A concerted effort should be made to build house for officers in active service. Houses should also be allocated based on ranks and family size to avoid over population.

In the case of urgent need for deployment of officers to troubled spots, a centrally pooled workforce would be easier to deploy.

Adequate supply of uniforms and kits to all personnel in the force should be made on a regular basis. It’s disheartening to see your men in tattered and dirty uniforms. The current uniform been worn by some senior officers would not be ideal for your lower ranks who cannot maintain the black colored uniform. A set of 5 pairs of uniform, plus at least two pairs of boots, belts and berets would not be a bad idea.

Mr IG sir, it is disheartening to get to a police station in order to make a statement and the first thing you are told to do is to buy or pay for an exercise book or plain sheets in other to make a statement. There should be official police stationery printed with police emblem to make statements in order to enhance the ease of documentation and sanctity of police reports and statements. Also, it is an eyesore to see newly relocated officers hanging their clothes and sleeping in their offices.


A highly disciplined and well trained force is essential to delivering set targets and goals of providing security for lives and properties. Discipline must be instilled at all levels of the workforce.

Training and retraining of officers must be carried out on a regular basis with special focus on human rights, weapon handling, communication skills, new interrogation techniques (torture is outdated), exposure to new equipment and technology. Training in information technology should be made compulsory and the entry requirement should be raised in order to attract the best in the country.

Respect for human lives and for colleagues should be entrenched. The MOPOL officers are highly undisciplined even to their superior officers and they harass civilians at the slightest provocation.

Physical training should not end at the Police College, constant physical training should be included the weekly training and reorientation program for all personnel across board.

A complete overhaul of the SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) unit especially in the South East should be done immediately as they have become so notorious, complacent and wicked in the handling of suspects. This method has not reduced the rate of crimes of all forms in the south east. Collusion and compromise with criminals is highly suspected. All officers who have overstayed their respective postings should be redeployed as they would have been over familiar with the indigenes and their environment which is not good for efficient service delivery.

You also need to embark on massive recruitment of police officers as the present ratio of police to civil population is grossly inadequate. Resuscitation of your dead finger print units is also essential.

Lastly, do not ask me where you will get the money to implement this reform as you can easily start with 10 billion naira budgeted for the proposed 50 years celebration of baby Nigeria in October 2010.Otherwise please liaise with Senator David Mark and Honorable Dimeji Bankole to amend the constitution so that the Nigeria Police should be placed on a first line charge like the National Assembly, Judiciary e.t.c. or a cut in the excesses available at all levels of governance will suffice. A public and private sector partnership as seen in the Lagos State model of provision of adequate security will help you too.

I'm available for further clarification and free consultation via email on:

Oladapo Kolawole a Public Opinion analyst wrote from Lagos Nigeria.

1 comment:

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