By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
As part of efforts to reduce the number of casualties associated with misuse of firearms by police officers, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase has said the Force will introduce the use of stun gun.
The IG also said that the police management is considering swapping officers who stay more than three months in the northeast as way to avoid health deterioration.
The IGP disclosed this yesterday in Abuja when he met with senior officers of the Force to brainstorm on the roadmap for the year, 2016.
According to Arase, the meeting was to focus on the rate of kidnapping nationwide, deployment of personnel and logistics towards the restoration of civil authority in areas liberated from terror elements in the northeast, cattle rustling and armed robbery and other highly organised crimes.
On the introduction of stun guns, the IG said: â€œRight now, what we are trying to do is to discourage issuing firearms to police officers who go on metro patrol and that is why we are thinking of introducing stun guns this year.
â€œStun guns can incapacitate you, demobilize you but they will not kill you. So, in case there is a mistake, then we will be able to ensure that the fatality is not such that will result in death.
â€œIt is also true to that from our statistics that we have internal mechanism for dealing with people who engage in misuse of firearms and I must tell you that a lot of them have been dismissed but it is not every day you will see it on the pages of the paper that they have been dismissed.
Arase at the meeting also admitted that the increasing rate of kidnapping is a challenge to the Force.
According to him: â€œOn the kidnapping issue, in my opening remark, I mentioned that we have serious challenges with kidnapping in some areas in the country because it is not all over the country and once these things happen, the way the press publicise it gives the impression that there is a near state of anomie but this is not true.
The Police Chief also explained that the armed robbers in Lagos have taken to kidnapping.
He said: â€œWe have a new challenge now in Lagos because after we have been able to mop up the bank robbers that come from the waterways, it looks as if they have found a new vocation in kidnapping especially in Festac and Amuwo Odofin.
â€œWe are addressing those issues and I can assure you that those people will be caught. It takes time though, you know crime is always committed but the indomitable fighting spirit of the police force has to be strengthened and that is what we are trying to do.
â€œAlso the supervisory role of the commissioners of police, divisional commanders, area commanders must be strengthened because I think that is where we are having a gap and I can assure you that we will make sure that we resolve it.
Speaking on the promotion of officers in northeast, Arase said: â€œSometimes, it is impossible to promote everybody due to the vacancy that we have…they are going to be promoted.
â€œWe are thinking of having police week this year and we have started compiling the names of people who we will honour and give medals as a form of appreciation of what they are doing and about their allowances, yes, it is true that the State governments are in breach but you can also appreciate that the state government have also being facing a lot of financial challenges too.
He added: â€œWhen I visited the northeast, I appealed to them that the backlog of the allowances be paid so that the men there are not discouraged and at the management level, we have also decided that because of the psychological trauma associated with staying in that area for so long, we should start thinking of giving timelines and swapping them so that they donâ€™t overstay in that area which will lead to the depreciation of their health and it will in turn lead to fatalities and we are making arrangement that if they stay there for three months, they should be taken to other areas where they will be able to have respiteâ€.Â