Nigeria: New eight-hour shift for police may die a natural death without recruitment– Ex-senior officers
London, April 27, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Hundreds of additional policemen will be needed to implement and sustain the new eight-hour shift work ordered by acting Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, according to ex-police chiefs Solomon Arase, Adedayo Adeoye and Emmanuel Ojukwu.
Amid rising security concerns in the country, Adamu on Thursday stopped the current 12-hour, two-shift work arrangement in the force, ordering a reversal to the traditional eight-hour, three-shift arrangement.
Speaking in Abuja at the maiden Conference of Medical Officers and Heads of Medical facilities in the Nigeria Police Formations and Commands, Adamu said no officer should be made to perform any duty exceeding eight hours within a space of 24 hours, unless there was a local or national emergency.
He attributed the misuse of firearms and extrajudicial killings by police to work-related stress and emotional conditions.
The IG said the development was informed by the need to address “a major, age-long occupational stress which long hours of duty engenders among officers and which occasions depression and abuse of power and other unprofessional conduct”.
Eight-hour standard may require additional 300,000-Arase
But Arase, a former IG), said the new shift work arrangement might need additional manpower to succeed, adding that about 300,000 officers might have to be recruited for the eight-hour shift.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Punch in Abuja on Friday, the retired police boss said, “The figure is difficult to prescribe because if you have a strength of 300,000, you are looking at having additional 300,000 again and that’s not feasible within the space of four years, because you have to start recruiting about 10,000 officers per recruitment exercise over a period of time. Even if you recruit 10,000 men each time, how long will that take you and the (training) schools can’t accommodate the recruits.
“The main thing is thinking outside the box, having more of technical platform, using intelligence, using motorised patrols. All these are the issues they should be talking about.”
He suggested redeployment of redundant officers at Force Headquarters, the zonal formations and other commands to fill the quota for the new shift work proposed by Adamu.
Arase added, “They could push them into operations. He (Adamu) can take them to areas of need. That could be an interim arrangement.”
According to the lawyer, the police have about 350,000 operational personnel, a percentage of which protects private individuals.
Arase said modern policing was not about numerical strength, but the deployment of technology.
He said, “If you look at most of the crises that have happened across the world, the detection of those crises was dependent on how robust the technical platform is.
“Consider the Sri Lanka terror attack, 24 hours after, they are having a rollback from their surveillance equipment to show how everything went. I remember that I consistently proposed that we should have legislation that says all public utilities like shopping malls, housing estates should have CCTVs.”
Recall policemen attached to politicians, dignitaries, ex-DIG counsels Adamu
Retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police Adeoye lauded the idea of the eight-hour shift work, saying it would help officers to become more efficient.
According to him, the eight-hour shift work was the model inherited from the colonial masters.
However, he agreed with Arase that the new shift work arrangement would require additional manpower.
He advised the IG to withdraw the police attached to politicians and other personalities not constitutionally entitled to police aides.
Also, Ojukwu, a retired Commissioner of Police, said research had shown that many officers were stressed from working for 12 hours.
The Provost, Nigeria Police School of Public Relations said, “He (IG) would definitely need more men. We have a lot of manpower wastage. There are many men at Force Headquarters and command headquarters, such men should be mopped up to join their colleagues in operations.
“Officers attached to politicians and private individuals should also be recalled and redeployed. We should regulate the number of policemen attached to private citizens who are appropriating our commonwealth to themselves alone.”
Eight-hour shift may die a natural death – Senior officers
Meanwhile, some serving senior police officers in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Abuja said although the new shift work arrangement was desirable, the force lacked the required manpower to implement it.
A Divisional Police Officer in Lagos, who spoke on condition of anonymity, observed that the implementation of the eight-hour, three-shift plan was not feasible, considering the current shortfall of manpower.
The DPO, who is a Chief Superintendent of Police, said although the eight-hour duty was the ideal period recognised in the police regulatory scheme, the situation on the ground had made its applicability difficult.
He said, “If we are going back to the eight-hour duty, the implication is that the division that does not have enough manpower will suffer. I don’t think any division has enough. If there are 12 men on patrol in two shifts and now you want them to do three shifts, it means you will have three policemen on each shift and six in the third shift at night, which is more critical. But we must also note that three policemen cannot effectively run an anti-crime patrol.
“The three-shift plan is good if there is enough manpower, but in the absence of adequate officers, the DPOs and area commanders will use their discretion because the job must be done. We must not leave any lacuna.”
He said the three-shift system was enforced during the tenure of former IG Tafa Balogun, “but it died a natural death because it could not work”.
On the security implications the IG’s directive would have if it was implemented, the DPO said criminals would be more daring.
He stated, “There is strength in numbers. The number of policemen on a patrol goes a long way in instilling confidence in the officers and deterring criminals. They may dare the policemen if the number is few. Enough police presence deters criminals but if the number is scanty, it emboldens them.”
Also, a serving senior police officer at the Airport Command, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said the new directive was not realisable.
He said, “That eight-hour shift plan is good but we don’t have the men. When ex-IG Tafa Balogun introduced it, it died naturally because many divisions could not implement it. Currently, we are even struggling to meet up. Some of us are doing a 24-hour shift. I just returned from one. We don’t have enough men.”
An aide to the IG, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the directive was good but it would be difficult to implement it.
He said, “The police have a little over 300,000 personnel at the moment. Out of this number, over 160,000 officers are in operations. The remaining are in administration and special protection, serving as security aides and bodyguards to VIPs. Some of the business moguls have over 20 policemen each with them. Some political office holders in the country have about 25 each with them.
“To implement the directive, we need to recruit about 100,000 yearly. The United Nations standard is one policeman to 400 citizens. In Nigeria, we said we want one policeman to 500 people. Divide 180 million people by the number of policemen in the country and then you see where we are.
“Out of the over 300,000 we have a number of them leave the force through retirement, death, dismissal and resignation. Over 400 leave the force within a time