Insufficient manpower: Police settle for part-time special constables

As part of measures to check rising insecurity in the face of insufficient manpower in Nigeria’s police force, the Force has concluded plans to engage thousands of Special Constables to work with conventional policemen in communities.

The recruitment of the special officers, which would be announced any moment from now, has received presidential backing and it is expected to start in Kaduna and other northern states where the traditional emirate and district structures support the system.

It was further learned that the police had presented the idea to the state governors who were said to have bought into the scheme.

The men, who will not be armed, are expected to handle charge room and administrative duties, crowd control, accident scene duties, alternative dispute resolution, and other less sensitive and less risky functions. They are expected to dress in police uniform but with a different force number to distinguish them from the regular cops.

It was learned that respectable members of the society like pastors, imams, teachers, lawyers, journalists, and responsible youths would be considered for the volunteer job.

The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, confirmed the plan and explained that the candidates for the constabulary would be between the ages of 21-50, and must be physically fit and gainfully employed.

Eight-hour shift: State commands fail to comply with IG’s directive two weeks after

The news of special constables came just as an investigation by Saturday PUNCH revealed that many state commands across the country had failed to comply with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu’s order asking police formations across the country to immediately reverse to the traditional eight-hour, three-shift standard.

Findings by our correspondents across many states revealed that inadequate manpower and growing insecurity had forced the state commands to disregard the IG’s directive.

Our correspondents who visited police divisions across the country gathered from divisional police officers and some senior officers that their failure to comply with the directive was due to inadequate personnel and the rising insecurity across the country.

The IGP had while ordering the change in the shift structure on April 25, explained that the increasing case of misuse of firearms by policemen could be directly linked to their work-related stress and emotional conditions, which he said affects their rationality.

Delivering a speech at the maiden conference of Heads of Nigeria Police Medical Facilities held at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, he, therefore, directed an immediate switch from the 12-hour, two-shift work structure to eight-hour, three shift schedule.

He had said, “Indeed, arguments have been raised that the resonating incidents of misuse of firearms and extra-judicial actions by police personnel often result directly from work-related stress and emotional conditions which disorient their rationality.

“In consideration of this, I have ordered that with immediate effect, the shift duty structure of the Nigeria Police, which is currently a 12-hour, two-shift system be reverted to the traditional eight-hour, three-shift standard.

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“This directive is specifically informed by the need to address a major age-long occupational stress which long hours of duty engender among personnel in the Nigeria Police Force and which occasions depression and abuse of power and other unprofessional conduct.

“For purpose of clarity, henceforth, no police personnel should be made to perform any duty exceeding eight hours within a space of 24 hours unless there is a local or national emergency.”

But, despite the instruction that the directive should take immediate effect, police divisions have yet to implement the order.

In Ondo State, for example, policemen across different divisions told Saturday PUNCH that though they were delighted with the IGP’s directive, they were still operating the 12-hour shift.

A junior policeman who craved anonymity for fear of being reprimanded said, “I can tell you our command has yet to obey the order. For instance, I resume by 6pm and close by 6am the following day. It is not easy. At times, when I’m about to close in the morning, they would assign another special duty which you can’t complain about.”

A senior officer, who would also not disclose his identity, said, “We have small number of policemen in this command. I think the force should recruit more personnel because we are not enough and the work is killing us.”

In Taraba State, checks by one of our correspondents showed the old shift schedule was still in place.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, David Misal, said the order had been communicated to divisional headquarters and that they were expected to comply. But when told that the order had yet to be implemented, he said, “I will do my findings and get back to you,” which he had yet to do as of press time.

In Adamawa State, the directive has also yet to take effect. Interactions with policemen at the command headquarters and police divisions revealed that inadequate manpower had prevented the command from implementing the directive.

The police PRO in the state, Othman Abubakar, declined comment on the matter, saying it was an internal matter of the police.

In Ogun State, police officers told Saturday PUNCH that the directive was laudable but not achievable due to the prevailing situation. “We have been yearning for such an arrangement but due to inadequate manpower, the policy might remain on paper,” one of them said.

When confronted with the findings, the PPRO in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the implementation would require some reshuffling.

In Kano State, policemen in different divisions told Saturday PUNCH they were still running the 12-hour, two shift work schedule due to inadequate personnel. The spokesperson for the command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, however, said the police in the state would soon comply with the directive.

In Gombe State, the directive is far from being implemented. A junior officer in the command said, “You know we are a regimented organization but for this directive to be fully operational in Gombe, the IGP must first recruit. If it is adhered to by strictly, we will live longer.”

The command’s spokesperson, SP Mary Obed Malum, however, said the order of the IGP was in operation.

Also in Sokoto, the order has yet to be implemented, according to policemen who confided in one of our correspondents. The command’s spokesperson, Mohammad Sadiq, said, “This is an internal issue and I am sure the command hierarchy is working it out. You will agree with me that we have to reorganise our human resource to be able to implement the eight-hour shift.”

In Kebbi State, the PPRO, Nafiu Abubakar, declined comment on the matter but findings revealed the order had yet to take effect.

In Benue State, the directive has yet to be implemented, but the police spokesperson in the state, Catherine Anene, said the directive of the IGP was already being worked on.

In Kwara State, findings revealed the implementation had been stifled by inadequate personnel in the command. The state PPRO, Ajayi Okasanmi, said although the command was experiencing manpower shortage, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, had deployed 30 percent of personnel from the administration department at the headquarters to complement those on the field.

In Katsina State, however, findings revealed that there had been some level of compliance with the directive. The command spokesperson, Gambo Isah, said, “We have implemented the directive and our officers and men are coping.”

In Osun State, the order has yet to take effect. A police sergeant attached to a division within Osogbo Area Command said the current 12-hour shift might not end soon due to personnel shortage.

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In Niger State, findings revealed that the lack of adequate manpower had made the implementation impossible. A senior police officer, who pleaded anonymity, said the command did not have enough personnel to properly carry out the assignment.

“The Police Force needs to employ more policemen for the task ahead,” he added.

In Plateau State, there had been partial compliance in a few divisions while others have yet to comply due to the shortage of personnel.

A sergeant at the ‘C’ Division in Jos told Saturday PUNCH that nothing had changed in the division regarding the IGP’s directive.

The PPRO, Mathias Tyopev, however, said the state command was doing everything possible to implement the new schedule.

“We are doing it in phases and it is a gradual process,” he added…Continue Reading…

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