Community policing: ActionAid, others want explicit legal framework

An NGO,  ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), and its partners have called for amendment to section 214 of the 1999 Constitution and the Nigeria Police Act to provide explicit legal framework for Community Policing.

Ene Obi, Country Director of AAN, made the call on Thursday in Akwanga, Nasarawa state, during a two-day training on community policing for officers of the state command in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force.

Obi, represented by the Manager, Humanitarian and Resilience unit of AAN, Mr David Habba, said the amendment was necessary to provide express description of strategic orientation on community policing as the goal and the basis of policing.

She said, “the strategic document on community policing lacks explicit legislative and legal framework to underpin its operation by virtue of the provisions of section 214 of the 1999 constitution as amended.”

She also stressed the need for the establishment of a mechanism for the proper scrutiny and vetting of the character and personality of the members selected for inclusion in the community policing committees.

Mr Aliyu Adamu, AAN coordinator in Nasarawa, said the training of the police  officers was aimed at strengthening community policing architecture in line with the objectives of the “System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SERVE II) project”.

Adamu explained that the SERVE II project was being implemented in partnership with Global Peace Development (GPD) and Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI) with funding from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).

He maintained that training would help to address the widespread lack of awareness on the strategic approach and organisational philosophy of community policing among Police personnel and other law enforcement agencies.

Mr Bola Longe, Commissioner of Police in the state, who declared the training open, expressed optimism that it would equip participants to better appreciate and imbibe the concept of community policing as strategic partnership toward protecting lives and property.

Longe, represented by Suleiman Iki, Area Commander, Akwanga, urged participants to make maximum use of the training for effective performance of their duties.

Mr Jaye Gaskiya, a resource person and Mr Ebruke Esike, Director of GPD, a project implementing partner of AAN, both underscored the need for the training of the officers for effective community policing.

According to Gaskiya, what is being done now regarding community policing is the reorientation of the national Police to return to the basics, pointing out that modern Police system evolves from the community structure.

He said the concept implied community participation to drive the process of policing, which required individual reorientation as well as structural and institutional changes.

Esike, on his part, said that the training of the officers was necessary for them to understand the dynamics on how to collaborate effectively with the people on community surveillance.

He said that community policing was premised on early warning to curb violence and criminality, which was in tandem with the objective of the SERVE II project. (NAN)