Date: November 30, 2023 11:07 am
The Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force are contemplating the extension of the police retirement age to either 65 years or 40 years in the service.
The move, it was gathered, followed the retirement of several competent police officers which had affected the effectiveness of the force.
The recommendations were among the several others presented by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, to the Inspector-General of Police, Kehinde Egbetokun, as part of plans to reform and professionalise the police force as contained in the Nigeria Police Force Scheme of Service.
Among other policies being considered under the NPF Scheme of Service is a proposal to ease out junior officers at the inspectorate cadre unless there is a conversion based on additional academic qualifications.
However, if the policy was approved, the affected policemen would not be promoted beyond the rank of Chief Superintendent.
The recommendations for inclusion in the NPF service scheme read, “Rank and file should terminate at the inspectorate cadre unless is a conversion based on additional qualification but should not rise beyond the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police.
“Non-graduates should not be promoted to the SPO cadre. The scheme of service should cover traffic warden personnel as a specialised arm of the force.
“Abolish the concept of general duty or limit it to a specific number of years after initial entry to allow new intakes to develop skills, gain competencies and acquire relevant experience to progress into specialised areas.
‘’Length of service in the NPF should be extended to either 40 years or 65 years of age, whichever comes first.’’
When asked about the proposal to ease out junior officers who failed to provide additional qualifications, the force spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, simply said, ‘’A recommendation is not a policy.’’
Explaining the decision to extend the service tenure to 65 years for policemen, the spokesman for the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, said the commission’s chairman, Arase, believed that the early retirement of seasoned police officers had robbed the NPF of what he called institutional memory.
He stated, “The chairman of the commission is saying that when you retire them too early, they go away with their institutional memory and this affects the force. They have done it (extension of service years) for the judges, and he is saying it should be extended to the police.
“At the last retreat for retired IGs, it was part of their communiqué. When they leave below 60, some of them are still young and they can still be useful to the police and the nation. When you extend their tenure, they are still in a position to contribute to the nation.’’
On the plan to peg the exit rank for junior officers who had no additional qualifications to CSP, Ani stated that the personnel had been directed to present their certificates.
‘’What I know is that they asked those with additional qualifications to submit their certificates. The policy behind it is that they can move up to fill certain positions.
“There are some policemen that read law and they are corporals and they go to court to represent the police and the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association) said it is wrong. The chairman said there is a need for them to be in short service and upgraded so they have self-confidence in the job they do,’’ the PSC spokesman disclosed.
Meanwhile, the police reform plans have received the endorsement of retired IGs.
The Committee of Retired Inspectors-General of Police in a communique issued at the end of their retreat in Ibadan in August advocated 65 years as retirement age and 40 years as tenure of service for police personnel.
The retreat had the theme, ‘Intervention of former IGs for strategic contribution to effective policing in Nigeria.’
The retreat allowed the ex-police heads to brainstorm about repositioning the NPF for greater impact, relevance, and strategic intervention within the country’s competitive security landscape.
According to the communiqué, there is a need for a re-evaluation of retirement age and tenure of service.
“This should be by extending the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and tenure of service from 35 to 40 years, whichever comes first,” it said.
The committee also recommended that divisional police headquarters across the country, which they observed were usually understaffed and under-equipped, should be adequately staffed.
“They should be provided with appropriate law enforcement equipment to enable them to discharge their statutory duties effectively,’’ it said.
The committee said recruitment into the Nigeria Police should be institutionalized and captured in the annual budget proposals of the NPF to put a halt to intermittent requests for approval.
It also asked the police management to re-evaluate the large number of police personnel usually attached to VIPS and politicians to allow for wider coverage of the personnel in its core area of policing.
The committee advised the NPF to build the capacity of its personnel by promoting digital literacy initiatives to enhance professionalism, noting that promotions should be based on examinations, merit, competence, and a deep understanding of the evolving challenges.
The former IGs encouraged the NPF management to leverage the experience of retired officers and harness their potential in the efforts to combat security challenges.
They said, “In the immediate, graduates, professionals, and technicians should be recruited to replace the number of personnel wastages in the system. The efforts of the IG should be applauded for gravitating towards actual personnel increase during staff recruitment rather than the usual personnel replacement.
‘’The Federal Government should give the NPF funding priority in the face of competing demands. Government at all levels should prioritize consultation with the Committee as a strategic partner in both intelligence sharing and policy reforms.
“Government at all levels should prioritize the employment of technology in policing to complement other policing assets of the Nigeria Police. The government is advised to come up with a policy as a condition precedent for all building approvals to have CCTV installed, as part of community safety measures in the country.’’
The participants also called on the Federal Government to implement the White Paper on the Police Reform Reports (Danmadami and M.D Yusuf Reports) for optimal performance of the Nigeria Police.
Relying on extant provisions of the Constitution and Establishment Act, the ex-IGs said the NPF should be restored to be effectively in charge of internal security management to avoid needless usurpation of her statutory functions.
The communiqué further stated, ‘’Police Mobile Force should be restored to its original status where it has its budget with the IGP as the Accounting Officer for efficient service delivery.
“The NPF should, as a matter of urgency, conduct a personnel audit of the PMF to restore it to its original concept.
“It was observed that the Divisional Police Headquarters across the country are usually under-staffed and under-equipped. It is therefore recommended that they should be adequately staffed and provided with appropriate law enforcement equipment to enable them to discharge their statutory duties effectively.’’
Also, given the shortfall in manpower of the Nigerian police, the CRIG stressed the urgent need to upgrade junior police officers with higher educational qualifications to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police to reflect the persona and carriage of their qualifications.
Noting the level of sophistication with which modern crimes were perpetrated, it urged the Federal Government to support the NPF in her quest to continually upgrade assets in logistics and intelligence-sharing technology with her strategic partners.