Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Building Model Police Stations and its linkages to PSVW: Nigeria’s Experience

By Blessing Abiri

Introduction
Like many other countries in Africa, police reforms has been on –going  in Nigeria with the introduction of various forms of reform  programs and initiatives.

Much of these reforms have focused on macro and national level issues such as structural, institutional, legal and policy framework for the police. 

However police stations being the basic unit for police service delivery, are also the main point of contact between citizens and the police.  

So citizens’ opinions and willingness to engage with the police is often influenced greatly by treatment they receive when they use police stations.

It therefore becomes imperative that to change peoples’ perceptions and experiences about the police, the reforms initiatives  needs to concentrate at the local police station level.

One way by which efforts have been made to introduce reforms at the police station level is through the DFID funded Justice For All(J4A) programme pilot project focused on remodeling police stations in terms of building structure, facilities, strategies, processes and range of services offered to improve not only the police services and accountability at the station level but also contribute to enhancing police image as an effective and efficient institution and citizen willingness to cooperate with the police .

Model Police Station in Nigeria

The J4A model police station program began in August 2011 at the Isokoko police station, the MPS pilot site. The specific objectives include:

- provide support to deliver effective 'reactive and proactive' policing services

- develop and implement an integrated model of initiatives – community policing, community safety, Neigbourhood policing and crime prevention

- develop family support unit to handle crimes against women, children and other vulnerable groups

- re-engineer structures, systems and processes that which support more effective service delivery, accountability and protection of human rights at the police station e.g reorganization of the front office to provide a more conducive environment

- facilitate replication of the model police station procedures, structures and systems in other police stations across Nigeria

Results in Isokoko so far

- There is a general change in police and citizen behaviour, thinking and actions

- Improved planning processes leading to a more focused, effective and efficient delivery of services  e.g crime and incident mapping by the DIO.

- FSU established with well trained police personnel to deal with cases in more professional and sensitive manner

- More police/community consultation on priority safety and security needs – eg local policing plan; police/VPS collaboration

- better record keeping and documentation processes – new registers; minutes taking etc

- adoption of the integrated community safety model set up of the Agege Community Safety Initiative

- better citizens satisfaction with the policing services and improved capacity of the police to respond and resolve crime –75% level of satisfaction with police response to reported incidents

- a fall in crime reporting rate - a fall of 33% -1587 (2011) to 1062 (2012)

- introduction of other services – Free legal advice scheme for suspects; SARC

- Replication and scale up of MPS

What are linkages between MPS and PSVW?

Goal of the J4A model police stations

 - assist the NPF deliver “more effective and accountable policing services”. More specially, it is intended to increase the willingness of the public to report crimes to the police and enhance the capacity of the police to respond to reports and investigate crimes effectively
- The intervention has become all the more important in the light of the security challenges in the country which has made the police a target of attack
- Strategic focus of MPS
considers and addresses salient issues relating to architectural designs, physical buildings, availability of facilities, strategies and processes  that impact on police service delivery, accountability, and protection of human rights
- This is clearly in line with the fundamentals upon which the PSVW indicators are based.

Community orientation
Adequate information on where to report crimes/access public services e.g FSU, Free Legal Advice

Physical condition
Restructuring of the front office to create more space to receive visitors and make it more conducive; provision of furniture and equipment, painting of the front office etc

Equal treatment of the Public
- police can demonstrate their commitment to equal treatment of the public by their sensitivity to vulnerable groups. The FSU was designed to address issues involving vulnerable groups and personnel trained;

- Isokoko is a home to numerous ethnic groups and nationals, the police station strives to ensure they all get fair and equal services

Transparency and accountability

- The crime and incident mapping system provides information on trends and patterns of crime in the
isokoko area and also determine impact of police efforts

 - the local policing plan developed by the Divisional Police officer reflects the citizen key priorities upon which he is expected to give feedback.

Detention conditions
The conditions of detention must satisfy certain global Standards.

Guided by the international human rights standards, the legal advice scheme operative at the police station is ensure that suspects/detainees are treated in accordance with the law, rights of suspects are guaranteed and protected at all times.

While the MPS is new, CLEEN using the findings from the PSVW was able to assess the performance of the 3 police stations (Isokoko, Adeniji Adele and Ilupeju police stations) where model police stations interventions are been implemented.

It was helpful to also identify other replication sites for the MPS in the country.







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