SARS is Inspector General of Police (IGP) strategy to solve the problem of violent crime against society, to wit, armed robbery. It lies with the IGP as Commander of the Police to think out strategies to prevent and investigate crimes, arrest and prosecute offenders, and keep society safe and free for conduct of legitimate business.
If we end SARS, Police must still exist to solve crimes, including armed robbery.
Every SARS personnel is first and foremost a policeman or woman. So, the problems of policing this country affect him or her. He or she has to cope with the Nigerian Factor in the areas of poor education (apologies to teachers: it’s Teachers Day), flawed recruitment process, training deficiency, poor funding, welfare and equipment, and above all, unparalleled political interference. The Police structure, systems and processes have question marks. No doubt, the IGPs do their best, judging the operating environment. I do not know of any good strategy that has not been pulled down by the Nigerian Factor.
If we end SARS, the Police must still do their job, in whatever legitimate way, else they recede to irrelevance. As a tree has branches, policemen and women, in whatever unit or formation will still come to play.
The end of SARS is the beginning of another branch.
I think what to do is for us all to agree that our police have problem and we have to solve it; we have to garner the political will to genuinely and holistically reform our police and let them do their work.
Enough of lip service about police reforms!
No one can fairly seek accountability when they have not done equity. We don’t blame the Police if we don’t train them. We will not be fair if we militarise our democracy, entrench a culture of violence, practice an eye-for-an-eye, and demand immediate capital punishment on our real and perceived enemies, and yet look for a civil and courteous police with the afore-mentioned Nigerian background.
We can have a police force that is democratically accountable in its daily activities.
When we prioritise security and see the police as the front liner. When we properly recruit and train our police. When we properly fund the police and allow the police leadership to freely but in an accountable manner devise ways and means of doing the job. When we put square pegs in square holes. When we allow the code of conduct to have essence and meaning. When we do not permit or instigate protection of offending officers, not minding where they come from but allowing the law to take its course; It is then we shall have a police that is democratically accountable in its daily activities.
ECS Ojukwu is a consultant on security, public relations and psychological services. He is also “a Pastor of Christ’s flock.”