Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has welcomed the idea by the Federal Government and the Police Force to integrate the concept of community policing into the formal security architecture of the State.
The development, Sanwo-Olu said, will allow security agencies to efficiently nip crimes in the bud and swiftly respond to security breaches before blowing out of proportion.
The Governor spoke at the event organised by the Police Force and hosted by the State Government to sensitise members of the public on community policing.
The event, with the theme: “Understanding Community Policing: A Framework for Action”, was held at the Banquet Hall of the Governor’s office and attended by Commissioners of Police in all the Southwest states, religious groups, traditional institution, labour unions, civil society groups, and chairmen of the 57 local councils in Lagos.
The mass sensitisation followed the approval of community policing strategy by the Federal Government to further localise the operations of the police.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, said the implementation of the community policing strategy was long overdue, given the nature of crimes and the need to enhance public safety.
The Governor urged residents of the State to embrace the initiative and volunteer information that would prepare security agencies to respond and isolate troublemakers in their communities.
He said: “The integration of community policing into the formal security architecture is a welcome development and this should be further encouraged with the keen participation of all members of the public, because they are the ones that can identify and provide timely information on security challenges.
“Our administration believes in ensuring and enhancing public safety and security as a critical requirement for economic growth and development. We shall continue to provide support for strategies that will ensure and enhance quality and effective security for the lives and properties of all residents.”
Sanwo-Olu admonished members of the public to be committed to the campaign in securing their communities in line with extant laws and regulations.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, represented by Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Zone II, Mr. Ahmed Ilyasu, said implementation of the strategy was to bridge the gap between the police and communities, stressing that the Police Force was ready to collaborate with critical stakeholders in the communities to achieve the objectives.
He said: “The concept of community policing in the 21st century has gone beyond the mundane approach of policing, rather than policing of the community. It is policing within the community that connotes security is every citizen’s business.
“Our community policing is a strategy of combating crimes and we are so passionate about it, as it is the only almighty formula in solving crimes, criminality and veritable measure in crises management situation in the nation.”
Vice President of Industrial Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu, praised the police for the mass sensitisation, which he described as “timely”.
The trade union activist said it was time for the repositioning of the police for efficient service delivery as the agency at the centre of internal security. He called for more investment in equipment of the men in uniform and a reward system for those who distinguish themselves in the line of duty.
Given the Lagos population, Aremu said the introduction of community policing could not have come at a better time. He said the organised labour was proud of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s dexterity in managing the security crises occasioned by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and EndSARS protest.
Wale Okunniyi, who spoke on behalf of the civil society groups, expressed solidarity to the move towards community policing.
The event was also attended by Oba of Lagos, represented by Opeluwa of Lagos, Chief Lateef Ajose and AIG in charge Zone 17, Isaac Akinboyede.