Security as we all know is the business of everybody. A common statement that goes thus “Be your brother’s keeper” gives a true understanding on the importance of security cautiousness at all levels. In other words, the representation of security management should be effectively distributed across board including the communal neighborhood. To achieve this objective, the system of policing must be such that is decentralized to enable productive and effect security management. A feasible solution to this course is the establishment of State police. To achieve positive and improved outcome on national security in a complex country like Nigeria, the establishment of State police must be given due consideration and acceptance. Countries that practice the system of federalism in normal sense devolve autonomous responsibility and ability to component States. This will allow for even distribution of development to the grass root including a functioning security network.
However, the present security architecture of the Nigerian Police Force does not have the wherewithal to adequately overwhelm the security challenges in the country. This is because of several reasons not limited to low number of police personnel per citizen ratio and the centralized bureaucratic system. The control of power over policing should not be solely for the federal government but a shared responsibility among the component States. One of the importances of State police is that personnel who would be recruited will be from the locals of the respective States. They will be very familiar with their immediate environment and if well trained, with due motivation, will perform maximally in tackling security threats. Furthermore, the establishment of State police will empower the Governor of a State, who is the chief security officer of the State, to have direct control over civil matters that concern security. The Governor will know how best to organize adequate security when he has executive influence over the command of State security. The unitary system practiced in Nigeria has become so inadequate to sustain development but impede growth. For a country to enjoy economic prosperity, she must ensure to strengthen and standardize her national security. The high magnitude of power clustered at the federal tier of government has caused slow growth in governance. Therefore, the machinery of State should restructure the country in a way that will allow the possibility of rapid national development. The restructuring of the country will certainly pave way for State police to be created. If Nigeria is to practice federalism as a system of government, she has to do it correctly to the latter.
Some persons have opposed the ideal of State police on the basis of myopic reasons. They majorly claim that Governors would abuse executive power through undue influence over State police when established. However, it is pertinent for us to know that it is easier to hold a State government accountable than the federal government. That is why before State police is made manifest the country would be restructured in a way that enables check and balance in the various States of the country. The security of live and properties is the priority and responsibility of government as stipulated by the constitution. Therefore, State government lead by executive Governors are duty bound by the law to ensure the right to life and security of properties are religiously protected especially if State police is established.
There are so many examples of countries that practice State or regional police. In fact, some of these countries have more than one different police systems that operate within respective jurisdiction. Countries of such nature are but not limited to the United States of America, United Kingdom, India, Japan, Canada and Australia. In all, the United States of America is said to have the most decentralized police system in the world. The police architecture in the United States is broken down into various types that enable her components States, counties, towns/cities and villages to form their own police. The idea behind this is to prevent too much clustered power over the police by the central government and to give room for local crisis to be tackled with local solutions. The United Kingdom who practices parliamentary system of government devolved power of policing to her local constituents. They operate a tripartite system of police, which is accountable solely to the law but administrative or political influence. The Nigeria government should be humble enough to recognize the effectiveness of a decentralized police service as it is in the aforementioned countries. Aside the establishment of State police in the various States, the local communities and villages should be allowed to define their security arrangement. I strongly support State police to be a feasible solution to enhance national security.
http://www.britannica.com/topic/poice/Decentralized-police-organizations, 2020, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Professional Ethics in Law Enforcement and Security Management, Course Code: CSS 442, Pg. (90), School of Arts and Social Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria.
Victor Okonjo wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org