Professionalism key to efficiency of the PoliceView(s):
By Javid Yusuf
The Police Department is a key component in the administration of justice and therefore plays an important role in ensuring the rule of law in the country. Despite the proud history of the Police where their skills and efficiency have been lauded, in recent times they have not escaped the disease of institutional decay which has afflicted different segments of the governance structure in the county.
The Police is one of the segments of the administration that is most in the public spotlight because of the fact that there is a great interaction with the public in the delivery of the services that the Police are required to perform.
Often they hit the media headlines for the wrong reasons and there is not much appreciation of the positive achievements that lie to their credit despite some of the difficult conditions under which they carry out their duties.
Among the stark difficulties faced by the Police is seen in the recording of complaints and other statements during the investigations that they are regularly called upon to carry out. Deapite all the technological advances that are available in the modern age a Policeman or Policewoman has to physically write down whatever has to be recorded. There is no facility for recording statements using a computer and when long and complicated investigations are involved one can
imagine the drudgery and physical
effort involved. This in turn can be a
Other logistical factors are the absence of adequate transport facilities and long working hours. All this will not only impact on the quality of the Police service but also impact on the way they deal with members of the public.
One of the oft repeated factors that determine the manner in which the Police carry out their duties is the fact that large sections of the Police have joined the service and worked under emergency rule during which the normal safeguards available to the public do not apply. This could be one of the contributory factors that have led to various incidents in which the Police have been accused of violating the rights of the people.
The increasing work load of the Police has certainly contributed to the slow pace of investigations and the public perception that the Police drag their feet on important investigations. If one observes the work that the Criminal Investigation Department is called upon to handle one can only wonder how the officers at the CID cope.
The fact that many complaints made to the CID attract a great deal of publicity also motivate many to do so for this purpose rather than to ensure that justice is done. This undoubtedly stretches the CID to the maximum.
If a proper study of the workload of the CID is made it will probably reveal that the number of complaints made to the CID in a month far outnumber the number of investigations completed during the same period. Consequently a backlog will develop and the pace of work of the CID will slow down.
This is probably true of other specialised sections of the Police as well as in the Police stations scattered all over the country.
Another incident that received media spotlight and contributed to criticism of the Police was its role in the build up to the Easter Sunday attacks. Media reports after the incidents of April 21, 2019 seemed to suggest that some Police Divisions had knowledge of the likelihood of impending attacks but did not take preventive action because they had not received orders from their higher ups.
The question that has occurred in the minds of many is whether the officers heading the divisions that had received information of the impending attacks did not have operational autonomy to act without awaiting orders from their superiors.
For instance would not Officers in Charge of a Police station have the power to act if they received information of some preparation to commit a crime within their division without waiting to obtain approval from the Police higher ups?
The above is a random sample of a few issues faced by the Police in carrying out their duties. When politicisation impacted on the Police, the National Police Commission was thought of as a counter measure to rid the Police of such extraneous influence and to enable them to function independently.
But these measures alone will not be sufficient to make the Police service efficient and effective. There is a need to continuously upgrade their skills by a programme of capacity building that will result in a highly professional Police service.
In fact instilling a sense of professionalism in the members of the Police service may be the key to ensuring a people friendly Police service. Pride in their own professionalism can ensure not only efficiency but also the capacity to withstand political and other pressures that the Police face in carrying out their duties.
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