The recent promotion exercise in the Nigeria Police which affected about 1,944 personnel is commendable. It will serve as a morale booster to the affected officers and men. The Police High Command had, in a recent statement, announced the approval by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, of the promotion of the 1,9944 police personnel.
In the exercise, the inspectorate cadre of the police swelled by about 204 with the promotion of Sergeants to Inspectors. In the same vein, 303 Corporals were elevated to Sergeants, while, 1,437 Constables became Corporals.
The affected personnel, according to the police authorities, were promoted after they had attended required courses. We approve of this move and note further that one of the best things that the police in Nigeria can do for itself is to continue to train and retrain its personnel. We need not emphasise the fact that training is central to efficiency and optimal performance. It brings the personnel involved to the required level and standard.
It also helps them to understand the intricacies and techniques of modern policing. It is only a trained personnel that can deploy technology and other forms of knowledge which are needed for a modern police force to perform optimally. For instance, the force has, with the cooperation and support of the Ministry of Police Affairs, acquired the National Public Security System.
This device will soon be launched with Abuja and Lagos acting as the pilot areas of operation. It is expected that the rest of the country will be covered with the use of this modern technology. But the security system is not expected to operate itself. It can also not be deployed by untrained personnel. Training and retraining are therefore important if the police in Nigeria must catch up with the demands of a changing world.
This is what makes the recent promotions in the police very apposite. However, promotions must not be carried out for the sake of it. It must be based on merit. It should go to those who have improved themselves on the job and who have a demonstrable skill that can improve the performance of the police.
It is only when those who are deserving of promotion are duly rewarded that the indolent ones can sit up. There should therefore be continuous assessment and evaluation of the performance of police personnel. Such exercise should lead to capacity-building and eventually the enthronement of an efficient police force.
While commending the police authorities for this noble effort, they need to be reminded of the all-important task of improving the image of the police. Apart from the hostile relationship that exists between the police and the public, the force needs to improve on its performance.
Most often, the people feel disgusted with the police because they believe that they are not being protected by the force. Therefore, the police will improve on its rating and perception if it performs in a manner that will restore the confidence of the public in it. We are aware that the present pitiable state of the police did not happen overnight.
It was as a result of many years of neglect and abuse. We would like to believe that the present crop of police authorities are working round the clock to ensure that the Nigeria police lives up to expectation again. We are equally encouraged by the efforts of the Ministry of Police Affairs in repositioning and rebranding the police. The promotion exercise under review is one good way to motivate the police. It should be sustained.