The Edo State Police Command has reiterated the ban on officers searching citizens’ phones during routine patrols and other operations, describing the act as “unprofessional conduct”.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor disclosed this in a statement posted on the command’s Facebook page on Friday.

In the statement, the state’s Commissioner of Police, CP Funsho Adegboye, warned officers to desist from this act, as the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, had directed the punishment of erring officers.

The statement read, “This press release is to inform the general public, especially the law-abiding citizens of Edo State of the state police command’s position regarding searching of citizens’ phones by operatives while on routine patrol, stop and search duties in the state.

“The Commissioner of Police Edo State, CP Funsho Adegboye, during a meeting with the command’s strategic security managers, re-echoed the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, on the ban on searching of citizens’ phones while on patrol, raid operations, stop and search duties or other essential duties.

“He warned that on no account should police officers/operatives engage in searching citizens’ phones in line of duties.”

The statement added that CP Adegboye stated that officers can only be allowed to search citizens’ phones when executing a court order from the court of competent jurisdiction as it empowers them to carry out such duties therein in the course of an investigation.

He warned the officers and men to desist from “this unprofessional conduct of searching phones,” stating that any officer caught doing so would face severe sanctions.

The CP also urged the public to be patient with the police and report any officer who indulges in unprofessional conduct.

In January the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fayoade Adegoke, said that no police officer is permitted to search the phones of any Nigerian.

Punch/Simeon Ugbodovon

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