The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Monday disclosed that the Force is set to commence the Community Policing across the country.
Speaking at the South West Security Summit held at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan, Adamu stated that the Community Policing was the first of the two steps in the next phase of strategic policing plans being deployed to fight insecurity in the country.
According to him, the second is the expansion and strengthening of ‘Operation Puff Adder’ with other complementary strategies.
At the event attended by the six governors of the South West, traditional rulers and other security stakeholders in the zone, the poloce boss disclosed that up to 40,000 Community Police Officers (CPOs) could be recruited.
“Hopefully, the breakdown of the Community Policing deployment plan will cover the recruitment of a total of forty thousand (40,000) Community Police Officers (CPOs) across the country,” he said.
He said the CPOs will be recruited from within the communities where the prospective applicants reside and an average of 50 are to be engaged in each of the 774 Local Government Areas.
He also disclosed that about 1,300 CPOs will be drawn from professional bodies like the academics, Road Transport Unions, Artisans, Traders Associations, Religious Bodies, Women Unions, and Youth Organisations among others in order to ensure diverse representation.
He added that a special operation is underway across the South West geopolitical zone to address the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways and other locations. “I am in this Summit with the Commissioner of Police who will command the special operation to complement the efforts of the Police Commissioners in the States within the zone,” he said.
Role of CPOs
Explaining the role of of the CPOs, the police boss said: “In relation to the South West, the CPOs shall be deployed to complement the Police in law enforcement functions within their localities by performing low-risk and non-sensitive policing functions. They will also act as liaisons between the Police and their communities. This policing architecture will free-up conventional police personnel that hitherto perform such functions and enhance our manpower profile in relation to deployment to frontline, operational duties in the South West and across the country.
“When fully implemented, the Community Policing Strategy will bridge the gap between the Police and the citizens in a manner that will enhance optimal, cost-effective, and sustainable law enforcement service delivery by the Police.
‘Operation Puff Adder’
Adamu stated that “Operation Puff Adder” which was launched as a strategy to stabilize the security profile in the country has recorded huge successes since January 2019.
His words: Between January – August 2019, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the South West. Similarly, 2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in the South West, while 1,154 kidnapping suspects were also apprehended in various operations. 147 of these were arrested in the South West. Furthermore, 1,183 suspected cultists have also been arrested with 425 of this figure apprehended in the South Western states.
“In relation to recoveries, 1,356 firearms of various calibre and descriptions were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the Police with 277 of such recoveries made in the South Western part of the country. Similarly, 21,300 ammunition of various descriptions and calibre were recovered in various intelligence-led operations with the highest number of 5, 270 ammunition recovered from criminal syndicates in the South West including about 2,700 ammunition recovered in June, 2019 from a cross-border arms smuggling syndicate in Oyo State. Furthermore, 1,541 stolen vehicles were recovered with 482 of such recoveries achieved in the South West while a total of 837 kidnapping victim were rescued with 106 of such rescues achieved in the South West.
Other security strategies
Within this perspective and in relation to the South West Geopolitical Zone, we shall soon relaunch the ‘Safer Highway’ Motorised Patrol Scheme as well as the ‘Safer City’ Scheme in the South West zone.
He disclosed: “We have since purchased new fleet of patrol vans to be deployed across our highways and cities. This will also involve the deployment of cutting-edge CCTV technology for surveillance functions across the highways and vulnerable locations in our communities in the zone and other parts of the country.”
Earlier, the Oyo State Governor and chief host of the summit, Engr. Seyi Makinde, who recalled that a consensus was arrived at the last security summit, said measures were already in the works to address insecurity in the geo-political zone based on a regional approach, with a holistic framework for security of the South West by the DAWN Commission.