The new Chairman of the Police Service Commission and former Inspector General of Police, Dr. Solomon Arase, has promised to prioritize the welfare of officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force.
He made this known to journalists after the swearing-in ceremony, where he also promised to address the issue of corruption and the recurring issues between the IGP and the Police Service Commission.
He reportedly said: “We’ll ensure that we continue to put our local and international expertise at their disposal.
“We will be strong in training in various areas, especially alternative dispute resolution.
“The issue of discipline will be taken seriously. I will not want a situation where civil situations arise. So any officer who steps out of the line, there will be consequences. But at the same time, they are my colleagues and children. So I’m going to make sure that I sharpen their skills.
“I’ll ensure that they start having confidence in themselves. With more training, the trust gap between members of the public and the police will be bridged. That is what I want to do. That members of the public will collaborate with the police force; see them as part of the larger society.
“Every policeman was a civilian and will return to civilian life after retirement as I have since I retired some seven years ago.
“The benefits that are derivable from good conduct as a police officer, they will continue to reap it when they retire. So that is what I will emphasise.”
On steps to improve the relationship between the commission and the police, Arase said: “If you look at the calibre of people you have in the commission, then you also look at the professional skills of the police management team, there is no way that there won’t be occasional issues.
“What I think we should do is that each of the parties should not learn to take everything. There must be negotiation, empathy and respect for each of our roles.
“I will expect that the commission allows the IGP to exercise his operational control over the police. And that the IG himself will respect the constitutional powers of the Police Service Commission. So, there must be mutual respect between both parties. I don’t foresee any crisis at all.”
On the need to address corruption in the police, he said: “Well, as an Inspector-General of police, the way I looked at the issue of corruption was to identify it from the source.
“When you tackle issues that are likely to increase the tendencies to be corrupt, you deal with it. How are you taking care of their welfare?
“How are you ensuring that when they retire, they have a decent house to go to? How are you taking care of their children? Can we organise scholarship schemes for them?
“Can we ensure that when we deploy them, they have the necessary work equipment? When you respect people who work for you…even your dogs, when they see you, they will wag their tails. So we must take the interest of the Nigerian police officers into consideration. And we’ll douse the issue of corruption. Also, members of the public should not corrupt them.”