Government & Politics

Community Policing Will End Security Challenges, Says Senator Tinubu

Senator Oluremi Tinubu yesterday reiterated the need for the establishment of community policing to augment the Police’s crime control tactics.

The senator, who spoke at an interactive session on community policing, organised by the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Agency (LNSA), said the country was under policed, stressing the need for collaboration with security groups to provide information and reduce the fear of crime in neighbourhoods.

With the theme: “Community policing and stakeholders, Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) as pathway,” the seminar was part of activities to commemorate the agency’s two-year anniversary.

Senator Tinubu said the need to ensure that the average Nigerian felt safe outweighed fears of possible abuse of state police by governors, adding that checks and balances could be emplaced to forestall such occurrences.

Represented by the Director of Organisation, Lagos Central Senatorial District, Wahab Alawiye-King, Tinubu said the topic was apt in the light of current security challenges across the country and ongoing discussions on state police.

She said: “Recent occurrences indicate an increase in crime and other social vices such as cultism, abduction, armed robbery, oil pipeline vandalism, which have posed security challenges to us as a nation, while sabotaging economic growth and development.

“The dire state of our security situation has been attributed to increase in unemployment rates, insufficient equipment for the police formations and insufficient police personnel, which have led to ineffective policing and the collapse of our internal security system.

“Let it be reiterated that Nigeria is grossly under policed. With a population close to 200 million policed by less than 400,000 cops, we have low ration of a policeman to 500 people. This figure also includes the number of policemen attached to government officials, notable and influential personalities.

“You can imagine how many policemen in actual fact, are devoted to policing the populace. Therefore, crime control tactics must be augmented with community policing in conjunction with various local security groups to provide timely information and reduce the fear of crime in our neighbourhoods.

“The government needs to restrategise and take giant steps to confront the situation. In doing this, discussions on amendment of the constitution to accommodate the establishment of state police have begun.

“I must state clearly that the divergent views on the merit or otherwise of state policing are not without their bases. It is my opinion, however, that the need to ensure that the average Nigerian feels safe outweighs the fear of abuse by governors. What we can do to prevent abuse is ensure checks and balances that will ensure that they fulfil their mandate only.”

Senator Tinubu advised the LNSC to continue to rise to their responsibilities by providing timely reports of commission or intent to commit crime in their localities.

“You must not compromise the confidence reposed in you by the government and the good people of Lagos. I urge you to be diligent, committed and honest in your assignment,” she said.

The Chairman, LNSA, Israel Ajao, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), had urged the operatives to do more of intelligence-gathering in their localities so that crimes could be prevented.

Calling for the establishment of community policing across the country, he said rivalry, friction between the police and such agencies could be avoided if they understood that their roles were complementary.

LNSC Lagos Division Commander Bashiru Giwa-Bioku said the division recorded 1048 incidents between April last year and June 2018, adding that 63 were resolved domestically and 134 transferred to the police for further action.

Also at the event were the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSTF), Dr. Abdulrasak Balogun; Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Adetokunbo Mumuni; Ishola Laguda and Area ‘A’ Commander, Danladi Umar, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), among others.

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