The Lagos State Government on Wednesday, inaugurated the State Community Policing Advisory Committee (SCPAC) and its operations arm, the State Community Policing Committee (SCPC).
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while inaugurating members of the committees at the State House, Ikeja, said the step was geared toward improving security in all communities across the state.
Sanwo-Olu said the inauguration marked a turning point in government’s deliberate effort to re-strategize and rethink the security architecture, using Community Policing Initiative as proposed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr Muhammed Adamu.
He said the security initiative was long overdue, and the reform was being implemented with the objective to address inadequacies of the current policing model.
According to him, the current policing model has failed to engage members of local communities and neighbourhoods in knowledge sharing and intelligence gathering that can help in nipping crimes in the bud.
SCPAC, which is co-chaired by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, and Chairman of Council of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, would be the custodian of the initiative and it is to maintain highest level of oversight on community policing in the state.
SCPC, on the other hand, would be responsible for managing and coordinating the state-level operations of the community policing programme.
SCPC would, among other functions, help identify security threats in communities and work with the police and the Community Police Officers (CPOs) in evolving appropriate strategies for addressing them.
Sanwo-Olu said the community policing initiative was conceived and rolled out to achieve fundamental changes in the way government responded to security matters and make security agencies proactive in discharging their statutory duties.
”Today is a particularly important and auspicious day for the good people of Lagos State. We are gathered here to take an important step in the implementation of a long overdue policing reform effort – the community policing initiative.
”In a democracy, the involvement of the people in all matters of governance, especially on issues that impact directly on their well-being is key to achieving good governance.
”One of the inadequacies of our current policing systems has been the inability to tap the knowledge and intelligence that exists at neighbourhood and community level.
‘The work that the police are expected to do becomes more difficult when they are expected to do it alone.
”No matter how well-resourced or technologically advanced a police force may be, there may be no progress without the trust and support of the communities in which they operate.
”Every citizen has a role to play in ensuring that the security architecture functions optimally,” he said.
The governor said that deploying technology and equipping the police with modern gadgets to fight crimes remained a novel idea any government could introduce.
He, however, said that such could not be a substitute for mutual trust and cooperation between the police and members of their host communities.
He said that a citizen-centric approach to tackling crime and criminality would take a lot of pressure off the police and allow them to focus energy and resources on issues that mattered most.
According to him, the community policing model will give every community resident a strong sense of participation in governance and strengthen the social contract between the government and citizens.
”We are implementing this policing initiative with sole objective of creating a platform for citizens’ participation toward improving security in our communities.
”We want Lagos State to be a role model for the rest of the country in terms of how community policing should function.
”We want to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence, one that engenders speedy resolution of issues as they arise,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor charged members of the committees to discharge their tasks with patriotism, integrity and diligence, as their membership was a ”rare privilege” and an opportunity to serve Lagos and the nation.
”I urge you all to be bold and innovative in the work of developing and implementing the necessary operational guidelines and procedures that will promote and sustain mutual trust, respect and confidence between the people and security agencies, and make Lagos State a no-go area for all those who seek to undermine our security,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the state government would be constituting additional committees, which would include: Area Command Community Policing Advisory Committee, Local Government Community Policing Advisory Committee, and Divisional Community Policing Committee.
The governor also used the occasion to reassure all security formations in the state of his administration’s commitment to support their activities by providing equipment and resources through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) and other interventions.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Training at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, Mr David Folawiyo, who represented the IGP, said the nation had reached a point where the police must interface with community members in maintaining social order.
”It is a bottom-up approach that shifts focus on reactive law enforcement to proactive problem solving,” he said.
Other members of SCPAC include: Heads of security agencies in the state, representative of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Apostle Kehinde Sowemimo, representative of Lagos chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), representative of the Lagos Muslim Community, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla and Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, representatives of three senatorial districts in Lagos.
Membership of SPAC includes: representative of the Commissioner of Police, DCP Etim Oqua Efiom; representative of traditional institution, Oba Momodu Ashafa; Muslim community, Bashorun Sikiru Alabi; CAN representative, Bishop Stephen Adegbite; and PCRC representative, Prince Yemi Adenowo.
Also representative of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Mrs Blessing Abiri; representative of the Lagos Chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Mr Lookman Aminu; representative of People Living With Disabilities, Israel Akiode, representative of the Nigeria Bar Association, Dele Oloke, and representative of the Lagos chapter of National Council of Women Societies, Alhaja Sikirat Agoro. (NAN)