Egbetokun tasks officers on integrity, launches SCRU unit in Lagos
• We are adopting societal approach to mitigate crime, says Owohunwa
Lagosians can now hold recalcitrant police officers accountable without visiting any police station as the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, yesterday, launched the State’s Complaint Response Unit (SCRU), as well as a state of the art hospital at the Nigeria Police Mobile Force 22 PMF, Ikeja, Lagos.
The IGP said the unit would promote accountability and enhance police-community collaboration. He said: “We always appeal to the public to cooperate with us and give us information, but we also have to show transparency to be able to get that. The new policing vision is about emplacing professionally competent service driven,and people-driven police that would support the agenda of the government in its efforts towards economic recovery and growth, as well as social and political development of our country.
“We don’t want actions of police officers reported on social media. You must show honesty and demonstrate to the public that you are men of integrity.
“Officers manning this unit were carefully selected, they are those with impeccable integrity; and would be trained continually, including overseas training. We will improve the unit and make it functional,” he stated.
Egbetokun also approved the allocation and release of five patrol vehicles and two trucks from those parked at the Police College field to Lagos State Police Command, one of which will be dedicated to the operations of the SCRU and others deployed to enhance the operational capacity of the Command in dealing with current and evolving crimes.
On his part, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, said the initiative was not meant to witch-hunt police officers as they would also be duly protected, and their rights fully asserted if their dignity is also violated or false and malicious information passed against them by misguided members of the public in the line of official duty.
According to him, the establishment of the centre is a fulfillment of statutory provisions that is intended to enhance police accountability and engender professional police service delivery, rather than witch-hunt or unduly malign dutiful officers.
On his part, constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, said police officers have no cause to fear, as he would also defend them pro bono if they are reported for frivolous reasons.
Also, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Apata, promised to replicate the same feat in Edo and Delta States, while Founder, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Josephine Okei-Odumakin, promised to support the initiative.
SCRU is a framework for promoting police-citizen accountability, and a centre for the receipt of complaints on police officers’ inadequacies, coordinate immediate response, facilitate investigations and disciplinary processes where necessary, and render feedback to citizens.
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