For decades, the challenge of police brutality and assaults on innocent individuals in Nigeria has been a major source of worry for many. While some may attribute it to corruption, a lack of professionalism, or insufficient resources, it is pertinent to note that these concerns are frequently interconnected.
Junior officers in the police force, who usually have more direct contact with innocent Nigerians, do not receive adequate intelligence training, which serves as the foundation for their professionalism.
They are trained in old physical combat techniques against international best practices. It is important to provide proper training to police officers from the beginning of their careers, as failure to do so leaves officers ill-equipped to deal with difficult situations. Inadequate intelligence training can frequently lead to unprofessional behaviour and violations of human rights.
Furthermore, there are insufficient training facilities in police barracks. Adequate training facilities for police officers would assist them in being professional and obedient while doing their jobs.
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When barracks lack training facilities, it sends the impression that the authorities do not prioritize the officers’ welfare. When examples of police brutality occur, the lack of investment in training facilities leads to a lack of accountability.
Most police barracks in Nigeria do not even have gym rooms for their officers.
Also, officers’ weak welfare might lead to frustration. Nigerian police personnel are notorious for their low pay, limited access to healthcare, and substandard housing conditions. The frustration created by these circumstances can frequently result in unpredictable conduct while doing their duties. Officers may feel powerless as a result of their displeasure.
More so, mental health is an important consideration in this matter. Due to stress, lack of sleep, and traumatic experiences in the line of duty, police personnel frequently suffer from mental health illnesses. When police personnel are not adequately cared for, they may develop mental illnesses and, in some situations, resort to violence against the citizens they are supposed to protect.
Therefore, it is important to address the underlying reasons for police brutality and assaults on individuals in Nigeria. We must train, equip and offer enough resources for our police officers in order for them to maintain professional ethics while carrying out their responsibilities and to create an environment favourable to good mental health. Only then can we begin to fix Nigeria’s police force.