Police, residents partner to fight crime in Abia
The Commissioner of Police in Abia State, Joshak Habila, has said it is important for residents to join the police in the effort to rid the state of criminal activities.
Habila said such collaboration between the police and residents was in line with the dream of the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase.
Habila said this during the maiden edition of the Police\Community Partnership Forum held in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.
He explained that the collaboration would facilitate the plan that a police officer should begin his investigation right from the moment a suspect was reported for an alleged crime.
This approach, according to Habila, would help the police to easily establish the crime and the appropriate action to take against the suspect, in order to prevent them from returning to the crime.He said, “Our officers and residents of Aba must have a cordial relationship at all times. It is the duty of the police to explain to the keke (tricycle) operators the time to operate and the time to stop.
“On the other hand, the keke operators have the responsibility to obey government’s directive without thinking that the police are trying to intimidate them.
“I know that Aba is too dear to the South-East and the Nigerian economy and our target is to reduce crime to the barest minimum in this city so that the policy of government to open up the city for investors will succeed.
“I pray that all the companies that left Aba in the past because of kidnapping and other violent crimes will all return to Aba.
“It is also our target that child trafficking and illegal child adoption will end in this city and for us to achieve all these, there must be trust between the police and Aba residents.”
The police commissioner expressed the belief that with better interaction between the police and the residents, crime fighting efforts would yield better results.
Earlier in his address, the Aba Area Commander, Mr. Peter Wagbara, said the police were collaborating with the Coalition of Business Groups and Associations of Nigeria in Abia State on intelligence-led policing, visibility policing and respect for human rights in line with the policy direction of the IGP.
He said the Nigeria Police had passed through different stages of political administration and needed to redefine its role in policing a democratic environment; hence the introduction of the community policing.
Wagbara further described community policing as a partnership concept where every member of the community would participate in the business of policing to ensure that their lives and property were protected.
He added that community participation in policing would bridge the gap between the police and the citizens and ensure that the police respected the fundamental rights of citizens through the eradication of corrupt tendencies within the force.
The forum, which was an interactive session, had many representatives of various business associations, landlords, human rights groups and traditional rulers in attendance.
Participants at the forum pledged to volunteer useful information to the police, but expressed their reservation that some junior police officers, more often than not, might not be trusted with information about criminals as a result of their alleged association with the criminals.
They requested that a direct channel be created between the people and the high-ranking police officers in the state, who they could trust would not expose those who volunteered useful information about criminals.