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How we’re repositioning police for better service delivery, by minister



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The Minister of State for Police Affairs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, recently organised a stakeholders’ meeting on the role of police in national security in Lagos where she highlighted Federal Government’s efforts aimed at repositioning the police for better service delivery.

From time immemorial, the police have been relied upon by the various communities and nations for protection of life and property.

In carrying out their functions, policemen enjoyed the cooperation of townspeople through the supply of intelligence gathering. Policemen in the pre-independence and pre-independence era resided with people at the grassroots, underscoring the partnership in the provision of adequate security.

In that period of community, state or regional policing, policemen understood the language of the people they served; they knew the geography, sociology and psychology of the environment of operation.

It appears that reality has now dawned on the Federal Government to look at the history of the police and draw lessons from the factors that aided their effectiveness and efficiency in the past.

At a recent Town Hall Meeting in Lagos, the Minister of State for Police Affairs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim agreed that the effectiveness of community policing depends on the public confidence and trust in the police.

At the meeting were Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Police Inspector-General Kayode Egbetokun, top security officers, lawmakers, traditional rulers and representatives of civil society organizations.

The reiterated the commitment of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration towards deep reforms that will be backed by a robust implementation plan and innovative resource mobilisation and allocation.

According to her, the goal is the emergence of a world-class police that is inclusive, intelligence-led, technology-driven, and community-based and alive to its constitutional responsibilities.

The minister assured that the Police will live up to its responsibilities in ensuring the safety of the lives and properties of Nigerians.

Sulaiman Ibrahim said she has made commitment to supporting efforts aimed at delivering viable solutions to tackle the complex issues that have limited the capability of the Police.

She said she will be rebuilding trust, restoring confidence and redefining policing in the country.

The minister said security is local and intelligence gathering is key.

She said: “This Townhall is therefore the first in an extensive series of Townhall engagements across the Country, to catalyse grassroots understanding of security dynamics and foster community-specific solutions. Recognising that security is inherently local, our approach must reflect an appreciation for the distinct characteristics, challenges, and strengths of each community.”

The minister added: “Local security interventions must therefore be designed based on local peculiarities and considerations, with the full participation of members of the various communities and blocks, to ensure inclusivity and full ownership. “Some communities are experiencing security challenges relating to a very high influx of other nationals; others are struggling with insecurity relating to rapid urbanization, while some are struggling with insecurity triggered by resource control and the agrarian nature of their environment, amongst other.”

Sulaiman-Ibrahim said the time is now for the implementation of Tinubu’s renewed hope police agenda.

She highlighted the six foundational pill8ars that will serve as strategic frameworks, crafted to redefine and strengthen the Police.

Her words: “The first is Technical and Operational Excellence: Harnessing cutting-edge technology and refining operational protocols to elevate the capabilities of our Police Personnel. This will also include strengthening the air and marine capabilities of the Nigeria Police Force to boost its operational effectiveness.

“Second is Infrastructure Advancement: Undertaking a comprehensive standardisation, modernisation and fortification initiative for the physical infrastructure of the Nigeria Police Force. This includes upgrading facilities and establishing command centers to bolster operational efficiency.

“Third is Welfare Enhancement: Focusing on the holistic well-being of our officers by implementing comprehensive support systems and healthcare measures. This pillar aims to bolster the physical, mental, psychological, and financial health of our dedicated personnel.

“Fourth is Policy Framework Development: Crafting a comprehensive policy framework to serve as the backbone of the entire law enforcement apparatus. This entails adherence to best practices, thereby rebuilding public trust and ensuring the highest standards of professionalism and accountability.

“Fifth is Branding, Citizen Engagement, and Public Trust Management: Initiating a strategic branding campaign to cultivate a positive and contemporary image for the Nigeria Police Force. This involves active engagement with citizens and effective management of public trust through transparent and accountable practices.

“Sixth is Community Collaboration and Public Trust: Establishing collaborative partnerships within the community to enhance citizen engagement and fortify public trust. This pillar emphasises the importance of a symbiotic relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

The minister said these pillars collectively form the cornerstone of efforts aimed at positioning the Police in an efficient pathway characterised by transparency, public confidence, and a strong connection with the communities it serves.

She stressed: “We are all custodians of security and must contribute to shaping a safer and more resilient society by showing our support to the men and women of the Force, who continue to demonstrate a high level of patriotism and selflessness to the service of the Country.

“As a forward-looking administration, we are now committed to these deep reforms, backed by a robust implementation plan and innovative resource mobilisation and allocation, which has been the bane of previous reform efforts. The goal is to see to the emergence of a world-class police force that is inclusive, intelligence-led, technology-driven, and community-based and that is alive to its constitutional responsibilities.

“I am therefore confident and can assure you that the Nigeria Police Force will live up to its responsibilities in ensuring the safety of the lives and properties of Nigerians.”

To the Minister, the Lagos Model of fight against crime initiated by the President when he was governor has been sustained by successive governors, particularly Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Sulaiman-Ibrahim thanked President.Tinubu for his unprecedented commitment to transforming critical areas of the economy, with a special focus on security and the Police.

She also commended Sanwo-Olu for building on the security foundations laid by the President for a safer Lagos.

Sulaiman-Ibrahim said the Lagos State Security Trust Fund has continued to be a shining example of the possibilities of local participation and collaboration in securing communities.

The Innspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, said that by involving the communities and citizens in the policing decision making process, the minister was giving effect to Robert Peels Principles of Policing, which emphasise that ‘the people are the police, and the police are the people.’

The import of this is that the option of crime management through meaningful communal engagement remains the most potent policing model and my policing vision, strategies and leadership actions are fundamentally entrenched on the firm and time-tested foundation.

Stakeholders believe that by convening the townhall meeting, the minister was giving the requisite leadership towards perfecting the model of policing. Egbetokun said: “In cognizance of this, I wish to acknowledge and most sincerely commend the foresight, thoughtfulness, and zeal of the Hon. Minister in appreciating the strategic importance of engaging constantly with the citizens towards the perfection of our community safety and internal security mandate.”

Policing is a collective responsibility. Thus, Sulaiman-Ibrahim urged Nigerians to see policing, communal safety, and security as a joint mandate with the Police.

She added: “In so doing, they should demonstrate more sensitivity to issue of crime prevention and offer useful criminal information that will aid the police in keeping them safe.

“The wider the trust and information-sharing gap between the Police and the citizens, the more we as a people inadvertently empower criminal elements to succeed in their evil plan to threaten our value for peace and security.”

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