Inspector General of India Police Service, Roopa Moudgil, on Thurday said the use of technology is the most efficient way for effective modern policing in the face of emerging global threats and mounting criminalities.
The Indian police boss said Nigeria and India have similar security challenges.
She noted that the evolution from manual policing to technology-based policing in India, which included the use of modern gadgets in crime fighting and prevention, helped the country to effectively fight crime.
Moudgil, the keynote speaker at a conference with the theme: Effective Policing Strategies for Nigeria, organised by the Gusau Institute in Abuja, said the police could do much better if motivated with the right tools.
“We have gadgets, like facial recognition software, tracking devices and street cameras. These have helped a great deal in proactive policing. Why Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has not been able to use mobile phones to track criminals is what I can’t understand, because mobile phones are the same everywhere,” Moudgil said.
The Indian police chief noted that the NPF needed public approval to succeed.
She said the police are regarded as oppressive and not on the right side of public judgment.
“Nigeria and India have many commonalities. Both countries have great youth population and great economy and both inherited European police formation. For the police to succeed, they need public approval and the right atmosphere. The police are regarded as oppressive and are never on the right side of judgement and this is the luggage we have to carry. Police are for the people.”
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, who was represented by Karma Hosea Hassan, an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), identified sentiments and political interests as some of the challenges mitigating against effective policing in the country.
He said: “Policing is as old as mankind. Societies, from traditional to modern times, have always adopted measures in ensuring adequate security of lives and property and these measures have evolved over time. But today, we believe that self-policing remains a panacea for crime fighting.”
“Today, I still believe that the Nigeria Police Force, as presently structured, remains the best option for our dear country. Crimes have become more daring and we need to shift from reactive policing to proactive policing.”
Highlighting the importance of technology-based policing, former Vice-President Namadi Sambo said conscious efforts should be made to digitalise the NPF to meet modern challenges in crime fighting and prevention.
Prof. Kemi Rotimi of the Department of History of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, presented a paper, titled: Towards Effective Policing Strategies for Nigeria.
The expert noted that there is substantial ignorance among Nigerians of the history of policing in Nigeria.
He said: “What the ignorance leads to is the assumption that many of the challenges inhibiting the provision of desired service by officers of the NPF are of recent origin. They are not. The long years of military rule, 1966-1999 (minus the four isolated years of the Second Republic from 1979 to 1983) and the appropriation of policing duties (and consequently, resources) witnessed severe neglect of the NPF.
“The two main challenges are: under-resourcing, in quantum of personnel and equipment; and the inadequate welfare provisions for the personnel. It needs be stressed that there is a huge, chronic disparity in the welfare provisions for the officer class and the con-commissioned ranks.
“I dare say that until the gulf is substantially bridged between these two groups, not much may be achieved in desired service delivery, especially bearing in mind that the policing that touches the lives of the generality of citizens is done by members of the non-commissioned ranks.
“On deregulating ownership of the police, Nigerians who clamour for allowing states to own police organisations know that effecting the necessary amendments to the Constitution to bring their wish to reality would be a challenge.
“There is also the added problem of the ability of most states to pay personnel and equip the forces. There is also the worry about the high probability of the governing elite in the states to restrain themselves from misusing the police.
“Nigerians who favour the retention of the one police organisation, the NPF, would want a substantial increase in the number of personnel to reflect the population size, and they advocate a more meaningful devolution of administrative control from the force headquarters using the zonal command structures.
“There are impediments to implementing ‘Community Policing’ with the current NPF structure. They include, staff disposition from the IGP to the station officer. The rapid turn-over of staff since 1999 makes it difficult to watch any Community Policing programme mature in any location…”