WE are expected to applaud the police over measures they have taken after the kidnap of the four journalists. It does not take a discerning observer to note that the prompt attention – by police standards – the incident got was because the kidnapped were from the media.

The police do not have a plan to improve security. Their principal, the Federal Government, is steeped in personal interests like who wins the next elections, without a thought about how poor security could mar the elections.

Rashes of reports on what the police have done since the kidnap have simply exposed the duplicity of the police and lack of seriousness, if not complicity, of government in the nation’s poor security.

How would 90 new patrol vehicles, in the control of compromised police officers, improve security? Is the issue simply about number of patrol vans? In the South East, the States have donated hundreds of patrol vans to the police. What did the police do with the vans? The same police would use the tracking devices.

The attitude of the police sustains crimes. The police are unashamed by the involvement of its personnel in crimes. Those caught are treated with kids’ gloves – they call it esprit de corps.

After indicting 39 police personnel of involvement in kidnapping, the police gleefully announced their dismissal. They are free to enjoy their loot. Is dismissal penalty for conniving with criminals? Is dismissing a police officer who makes millions of Naira from crime adequate deterrent to others?

Police personnel are already poorly paid. The retirement benefit of an officer is not much, so what does he lose if he is dismissed? What stops him from becoming a full time criminal?

Of all factors that hinder effectiveness of the police, none is stronger than collaboration with criminals. Patrol vehicles, training and equipment are nothing when the police side with criminals.

We cannot claim to be fighting crime when some police officers are in league with criminals. The practice is more wide spread than the number of dismissed personnel suggests. Where suspects are identified, they should be prosecuted. The police have shown their personnel are above the law, a good reason for their continued participation in various crimes, including inhuman treatments of detained suspects.

Once we lower the standards for law enforcement, we create room for more criminality as personality becomes the measuring stick rather than the law.

Another shame is the police’s revelation that President Goodluck Jonathan requested for the names of two traditional rulers involved in kidnapping. What would the President do with the names? Is he now in charge of prosecuting suspects? Is the President’s interest only in the duo or all traditional rulers involved in crimes?

The police cannot fight crime when their personnel are deep in it. The case of the dismissed 39 makes the point that the police tolerate crime, a message that would not be lost on others who can decide whether crime is more profitable than remaining in service.

With dismissal as punishment for conniving with criminals and compromising the nation’s security, the police authorities are nudging their personnel to make career decisions – it would be a surprise if more do not choose a more profitable calling like crime.


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