Proposed Recruitment of Forty Thousand Community Policing Officers
The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu had at different fora, announced plans by the federal government to recruit forty thousand community policing officers to compliment Nigeria Police Force in law enforcement functions.
The community policing officers also known as Special Constables, will be recruited within the communities where the applicants reside, while fifty Special Constables are to be engaged in each of the seven hundred and seventy four local government areas.
In addition, one thousand, three hundred community policing officers will be drawn from professional bodies such as the academics, road transport unions, traders associations, religions bodies, women unions, and youth organisations in order to ensure diverse representation.
According to the IGP, the implementation of the community policing strategy is expected to bridge the gap between the police and the citizens that will enhance effective and efficient law enforcement service delivery.
With the adoption of community policing, which has the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria would have joined nations such as United States, United Kingdom, France and India that have decentralised their security system, in which policing functions are citizen-centred and community-drive.
The recruitment of the community policing officers is a welcome development, as they will be able to protect lives and property at communities that have been isolated by police personnel.
Though, many state governors have devised ways of engaging citizens directly and indirectly to provide internal security within their states, the Inspector General of Police said the proposed establishment of community policing would not take away the powers of the Nigeria Police Force.
Some of the advantages of the community policing are that it will engender partnership, accountability and engagement.
The proposed recruitment of the forty thousand special constables would also put to an end to the insufficient methods in combating crime and social disorder in the society.
To make this work therefore, the recruitment of the special constables must be allowed to follow due process, the era of recruiting through the back door or through letters from notable politicians should not be encouraged.
The forty thousand community policing officers should be gainfully employed before they are drafted and trained as volunteers to serve in that capacity within their community.
The community policing officers should be familiar with the terrain they police. Some of those to be recruited need to be indigenes or volunteers that have resided in that particular area for a long period of time.
This will establish bonds between them and people of the communities they police.
Residents of communities should also provide support ranging from intelligence gathering to donation of facilities to the special constables.
The National Assembly should review the police act with a view to providing new legal framework that will regulate policing in a democratic dispensation.
Factors militating against police performance, which include poor resourcing, corruption, poor management and excessive executive control of the police should not be allowed to surface when community policing scheme take off.
If the nation is indeed committed to checking high rate of insecurity, every member of the society should support the realisation of community policing.