The ongoing protests in Nigeria by Nigerian youths have created fears in the heart of some policemen both the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and those serving in another units, according to reports.
This is also as it was learned that many of them are in total support of reformation of the force instead of singling out an outfit for persecution. The policemen themselves suggested ways the force can be reformed. They bared their hearts to Saturday Vanguard.
They are surprised the protests have continued and even taking new dimension after the government acceded to almost all their requests.
Investigations carried out by Crime Guard revealed that many members of the force have resorted to dressing casually while going to their respective offices with their uniforms secretly tucked inside black polythene or small bags so that they will not be easily identified by the aggrieved youths.
Those of them going out on official assignments now avoid volatile areas of the city or busy areas where the protesters normally converge in the cities.
Worse still, those living in barracks have intensified security while others staying outside also embark on measures aimed at safeguarding not only themselves but also members of their families who may be prone to attacks.
This extra security measures have also been replicated in all police formations in the country including police posts. This followed reported attacks carried out by some protesters in two police stations and the killing of an Inspector in Lagos command.
Those interviewed under the guise of strict anonymity lamented that the decay in the force was not caused by them but by the powers that be. They enumerated points which they said must be considered by the Federal Government if they are desirous of reforming the police force.
The points include: a change in the mode of recruitment into the force with a minimal entry of NCE/OND, decentralization of the force by given autonomy to state policing and avoiding control from Abuja, dissolution of the top hierarchy of the force and promotion of new ones, all officers must have guarantors from their background, village and community chiefs including kings and sending the rank and file to compulsory training intermittently and ensuring that it is added to the national budget.
Other measures stated are: Flushing out the bad eggs by sentencing them while operatives of the disbanded SARS should go to support the fight against bandits and terrorism in Sambisa forest; limiting the influx and possession of firearms in custody of rank and file officers, compulsory medical tests.
Others are spontaneous alcohol tests to officers on duty, increase welfare of service benefits to their families, salary to be increased three times the current level, involvement of international community and private organizations to help in restructuring, review of their service mandate, code of conduct etc, ensuring a detribalized policing system, increasing sanctions to life imprisonment and firing squad.
They also suggested that: the Police Service Commission ,PSC, should be dissolved, all officers’ bank accounts should be subjected to scrutiny by EFCC, ICPC, removal of all policemen involved in escorting politicians, renovation of all barracks while their children should be put in free education up till high school levels including the provision of good medicals and insurance covers, given befitting burial to any officer that dies on duty and payment of entitlements benefits to the family, full enforcement of the police act 2019;
Deployment of technology to manage and monitor police officers as well as incident/event management, compulsory sensitivity training and on boarding process by assigning officers to engage, speak and work with youth groups, embarking on real time crisis/incident management mechanism that protects civilians and police alike.
Furthermore, accountability and transparency case managements and feedback, transparent police leadership selection process and compulsory leadership training prior to resumption, leadership potential mapping and succession pool with periodic evaluation by NASS;
Scheduled periodic police operational strategy and management reviews, /clearly defined and articulated performance indicators from the rank and file to IGP with welfare and case management as KPA’s, all certificate holding officers should be subjected to verification while ghost workers be flushed out and names of ex-officers and dead officers be published to the public subject to approval by NASS and FEC etc