Average Nigerian Police Officers Unaware of Standard Operating Procedures

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THISDAY SPECIAL REPORT

•Reason many officers are crude, unprofessional

Bayo Akinloye

Apart from rudimentary policing skills, average police officers in Nigeria lack the requisite knowledge and capacity to enhance their professionalism, because they are unaware of the force’s standard operating procedures (SOP), THISDAY has learnt.

But the knowledge and capacity required to effectively police the society can only be attained through training and re-training, THISDAY new findings have shown while seeking holistic police reforms.

The Police Act 2020 recognises this and provides in Section 2(g) that, “Develop professionalism in the Police Force by providing the relevant training in all police formations in Nigeria for enhanced performance.”

Unfortunately, this is hardly the case in reality, thus denying the police officers new skills and techniques in day-to-day policing with respect to the evolution of societies.
A professional police force, apart from being up to date in the skills of policing a modern society, must be well informed about its Rules of Engagement (ROE) and the standard operating procedures.

These rules of engagement, for instance, are in the constitution, legislations, guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the police.
For the average police officer to update his professional law enforcement capabilities, he must be well informed in the key components of the ROEs of the Police Force in Nigeria.
Some of the components of the ROE are: (a) Fundamental Rights Provisions of the 1999 Constitution (Chapter 4); (b) The Police Act 2020 (A revolutionary piece of legislature); (c) Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, and (d) The Anti-Torture Act, 2017 among others.

According to THISDAY investigation, many police officers are not even aware of the existence of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, a legislation that was passed by the National Assembly to criminalise all acts of torture by law enforcement personnel in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the police, because of their ignorance of the law are still embracing torturing as the surest pathway to extracting confessions from suspects.

Thus, the easy recourse to torture is largely, because up till now the government has not enforced the provisions of the Act by putting any law enforcement personnel on trial.
However, while the society has steadily evolved over time to meet universal standards of engagement and compliance, the Police have painfully lagged behind, with operating standards and tools nearly out of fashion.

THISDAY checks also reveal several police officers across all ranks and formations in the country, apart from the few weeks entry training they received following their recruitment, never re-train to keep abreast with a fast evolving world.
The question many are therefore asking is, how does a police force that does not know its own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), effectively police a society without running foul of the law?