New progressive changes that aim to revamp the National Police Service (NPS) are underway. To date, a lot has been expended on NPS to make it more efficient and responsive to public need but sadly, there has been little to show for it.
The relationship between the police and the public remains lukewarm at best, yet for the law enforcers to be effective in combating crime, they need public trust. That, unfortunately, is lacking and needs to be cultivated to facilitate the easy flow of intelligence crucial to combating crime.
Last year, the police service received an additional 525 vehicles to help in mobility and improve response to distress calls. Additionally, it received armoured vehicles to combat terrorism and other complex crimes.
The construction of a police forensic lab meant to revolutionise how the police analyze evidence taken from a crime scene and the setting up of surveillance cameras to enable them real time information ought to have made the police work better.
The recommended police-to-civilian ratio has been a challenge, but that is set to change with the proposed new structure. More importantly, there will be no more need for members of the public in villages and remote places to travel long distances to get police help because virtually every chief’s centre will be converted into a police station.
According to the proposed structure, 47,000 Administration Police officers across the country will undergo fresh training to facilitate their absorption into the regular police service. Added to the 30,000 recruits that have been absorbed since 2013, ineptitude under the guise of staff shortage will no longer be a reason for police ineffectiveness.
There is every reason for the taxpayers to expect better service from the police. Currently, police officers enjoy an improved medical scheme, better housing and better pay. Junior officers, who, in many places live in quarters not fit for human habitation, will be paid a house allowance, hitherto a preserve of senior officers.The poor working conditions that could have precipitated bitterness in junior officers, especially, appear to have received positive attention.
Officers should reciprocate these gestures by treating civilians better and respectively and most importantly, by looking at the public as partners in policing, not potential criminals.