Wednesday, 28 November 2012

PRESS STATEMENT POLICE STATION VISITORS’ WEEK 2012

Introduction

On behalf of the Altus Global Alliance and its member organization in Nigeria, CLEEN Foundation, the Nigeria Police Force, National Human Rights Commission, Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Justice 4 All, warmly welcome you all to this press briefing, which is being organized to publicly announce the commencement of this year's edition of the Altus's Annual Police Station Visitors Week (PSVW).

About Altus
   
Altus is an alliance of 6 non-governmental organizations and academic centers in five continents, created in 2004 to promote safety and justice around the world from a multicultural perspective. These organizations are:



1.      Centre for Studies on Public Safety, Santiago, Chile
2.      Centre for studies on Public Security and Citizenship, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
3.      CLEEN Foundation, Lagos, Abuja, and Imo
4.      Institute for Development Communication, Chandigarh, India
5.      INDEM Foundation, Moscow
6.      Vera institute of Justice, New York

One of the focal point of Altus's work is Police Accountability and since 2006 Altus Global Alliance has been carrying out the Altus Police Station Visitors’ Week in different countries across the 5 continents. Together, these organizations offer a greater capacity to work across matters on issues of safety and justice and a larger role for the civil society in advancing justice from a multicultural perspective.

What is PSVW all about?

The Altus annual Police Station Visitors' Week (PSVW) is an international program that is organized to facilitate local community groups visiting police stations and assessing the quality of services delivered by police departments, to identify best practices used by police and to strengthen the accountability of police to the local community.

The program relies on planned annual visits by community groups to their local police stations. They join with people around the world to visit and review their local police stations by using a simple assessment tool kit composed of 20 questions based in 5 indicator areas. The indicator areas are drawn from international laws and protocols on policing and human rights. By participating in the visits participants are overseeing and improving police services. The information they gather from during the visits are uploaded on to an innovative web- based model which simultaneously generates as a database.

For many of the visitors especially those who are female, poor, or marginalized for other reasons the experience provides their first real access to local law enforcement and a platform for expressing their views about whether the police are serving all members of their community. The visitors use the PSVW Tool Kit to guide their visit, following protocols that are the same for visits around the world.

The PSVW Tool Kit includes a simple scoring system that allows each individual to assess each station in 20 areas, producing scores on five categories of service: 1) Community Orientation, 2) Physical Condition, 3) Equal Treatment of the Public, 4) Transparency and Accountability, and 5) Detention Conditions.

Immediately after each visit, participants answer a series of questions about what they observed. Their answers are later collected and uploaded to the Altus website. Using the ratings supplied by the visitors, the Altus website will calculate an overall score for each station and separate scores into five categories of service. Police stations that receive the highest overall scores will later be recognized with an award at a forum where it will share with colleagues information about its winning practices. The Inspector General of Police and Commissioners of Police in the participating states will receive a summary of the scores of the participating police stations, this would directly help them enhance, modify or change the strategies of engagement and interaction with groups within the communities the police serve. The program does not seek to “shame and blame” any participating police department, but only provides score information to participating stations and visitors.

PSVW provides a unique platform for police departments to establish better relationships with their host communities by receiving valuable and difficult to obtain feedback from community members on where services lag, and how to improve the quality of services available. In the same aphorism, as part of a global program, visitors are able to place their individual judgments about the quality of police service at their own police stations in national, regional, and global contexts.

PSVW 2012 Edition

PSVW 2012 edition is scheduled to take place from the 3rd December – 9th December, 2012. A total of 7 confirmed countries participating in the African continent. These are:

1.      Benin
2.      Cameroon
3.      Ghana
4.      Kenya
5.      Liberia
6.      Nigeria
7.      Sierra Leone
8.      Gambia

In the Gambia, the police have indicated interest to be part of the visit however we are still waiting for confirmation from civil society groups to want to visit the police stations in the Gambia. Burundi has indicated interest to be part of the visit in 2013. We are awaiting confirmation from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania.

This year we are aiming to mobilize more women, low income, religious, ethnic minority and other marginalized / vulnerable groups to participate in the visits.


PSVW 2012 in Nigeria

In Nigeria the visits would take place in Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Federal Capital Territory, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, Rivers and Zamfara. We are expecting to visit over 200 police stations spread across the identified police commands. In January 2013 we would release the results of the visits and the top 5 police stations among the participating Police Commands would be announced.

We would like to use this opportunity to invite representatives of the media to be part of the visits considering the pivotal role they play in enhancing police accountability and fostering police community relationship in the country.

We also use the opportunity to appreciate those that have made the PSVW a reality. The National Human Rights Commission for providing the facilties for the sensitization and training of police officers and visitors, funding support for Nigeria is being provided by Justice For All (J4A) and Frederick Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Nigeria Police Force like other police organizations that have taken the decision to open their doors to the visitors – this is an indication of commitment to working closely with their communities. We thank you all for taking out time out of your busy schedules to grace this press briefing, thank you all for coming.




‘Kemi Okenyodo
Regional Representative
Altus Global Alliance

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