The Lagos state Commissioner of Police made it clear when he assumed office that he wanted to see changes in the state.

His romance with the media, in order to get public support for his community policing strategy showed how desperate he is to make Lagos safe and make a name for himself.

But then, Lagosians know that making the state safe isn’t just about their cooperation but the police itself needs some internal cleansing.

At the forefront of fighting crime in Lagos is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the Anti-Kidnapping Squad and the Anti-Cultism Squad.

Realistically, the security problem of Lagos is the direct responsibility to these three units.

Mr Imohimi Edgal admitted there is a need for reforms and on October 5, 2017 he set up a panel made of serving and retired police officers, a legal practitioner and a renowned journalist.

READ: Lagos CP Set To Restructure SARS, Anti-Kidnapping Squad

Their task is to examine the current settings of those three police units and recommend reforms that will make them more effective.

After four months of working with the help of residents who were given the opportunity to make suggestions, the panel submitted its report to the CP on Tuesday.

The committee was chaired by retired Commissioner of Police, Samuel Adegbuyi and he spoke to Bounce News after their meeting with the CP.

“The recommendations we put in place came about after studying the existing activities and conduct of the men of the organisations and the role expected of them in meeting up with international standards,” he said.

Cultural Values

Part of their submission is that Nigeria has its own peculiar cultural values that must be considered while trying to adhere to international recommendations.

“We have to adjust our own environment and cultural values also and if properly studied and implemented we hope that we would have done a good job and the country at large will benefit immensely.”

Community policing, although not a new concept, according to Adegbuyi, needs to be better deployed with the advent of technology aiding crime.

“The community itself is not static. Information technology, computer revolution here and there, synergy among security agencies including these so-called vigilante groups (is needed).

“In some places, it is the farmer and hunters. These local hunters could be of immense value to you if you know what you’re doing.

“There are some terrain in the local areas that you can’t venture into but they are the grassroots people who know more about it.

“Don’t be deceived by Atlas map. They have their own local map just like the Niger Delta creeks where you can’t enter.

“You (need to) form partnership with them, motivate them and give them the recognition they deserve, and they will work for you,” he said.

Policemen Have Human Rights

We cannot forget the many allegations of human rights violation constantly levelled against the police, particularly men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

We hear of extrajudicial killings, illegal detention, unauthorized arrest, torture, extortion, brutalization of suspects and many more.

Mr Adegbuyi acknowledged that the continued success of the police and its special units is dependent on mutual respect between them and the people.

READ: Lagos Police Boss Lobbies Night Clubs, Hotels

He highlighted diligent prosecution of suspects as one area that needs to be addressed but noted that the police have human rights too.

“They are human beings and family heads. While they are facing criminals, their lives are equally at risk. What do we do to motivate them?

“Gone are the days when you think criminals are high school dropouts. They are highly intelligent; many of them are graduates with technology at their disposal.

“So, they are not catching monkey like before. If you give some monkey palm wine, they will not drink it.

“Some of them are more exposed than the policemen. They watch films, they are being sponsored, many have international links,” he warned.

The Lagos CP will be coming out with his own version of the report after studying it, and Mr Adegbuyi expressed confidence that Lagosians will feel the difference.

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