By Andrew Essien, Abuja
Former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has said that 57 years after the nation’s independence, the country was yet to develop a national internal security policy that will recognise, strengthen and adopt community policing model in the maintenance of law and order in the country.
Arase said such a policy should have defined the principles of policing and pathways to strengthening public trust and partnership between the police and the citizens.
He noted that one of the major factors that had sustained lack of trust between the police and the citizens has been the inability to introduce reforms needed for the reorientation of the police force inherited from the colonial masters.
The former police chief made this comment at a conference on policing the Nigerian federation organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) with the theme: “Towards Integrating Community Policing in Nigeria’s Security Architecture: Models, Policy Options and Strategies”.
Arase stated that community policing was historically the rock upon which policing and internal security management rested, and stressed the need to give sustainable effect to the model within the Nigerian security space.
According to him, the needed national policy framework would define pathways for the attainment of the community policing initiatives define specific roles of all strategic community actors as well as law enforcement community component and also clearly define the interrelationships and obligations of each of the actors.
“Police legitimacy,” he explained, “draws from public consent, and trust and lack of effective partnership between the police and the public can only sustain ineffective policing and insecurity among citizens.”
He added that community policing which demands effective police-public partnership and trust in crime prevention was the best form of policing.
The former IGP said further that “even among police personnel themselves, a research carried out in 14 states discovered that if community policing strategy is adopted, it could assist to eradicate most of the challenges attributed to the traditional reactive police culture.”
He remarked that community policy had been in effective practice in local communities in Nigeria long before colonial period.