By Evelyn Usman
Former Force Public Relations Officer, Commissioner of Police Emmanuel Ojukwu (retd) yesterday, charged politicians, heads of public offices, as well as members of the National Assembly, to give the Police breathing space to carry out their constitutional responsibilities, for better output.
He gave the charge during an interview with journalists at the closing ceremony of a 3-Day training on Strategic Communication for Police Public Relations Officers, held at Amber Residence in Ikeja, Lagos.
Ojukwu, who was one of the facilitators, lamented that one of the challenges confronting policemen was trying to satisfy different masters.
He said: “The Police have so many supervisors — the Ministry of Police Affairs, Police Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Politics, Accountant General and the National Assembly.
“So many people are on the police, and they want to satisfy all these masters. They should give the Police some breathing space.”
He said the workshop was germane and came at an appropriate time when Police Public Relations Officers needed a lot of capacity to deliver on their services, and when the Nigeria Police, as an institution, needed to raise its game in communication within and outside the Force.
The training, according to him, “ has come to increase their skills, competences and give greater awareness in the minds of Police PROs nationwide, on the need to communicate strategically and in the best possible way, in line with international best practices.
“I took a scan of the Nigeria environment, vis-a-vis politics, social, technology, the legal and general environment, and all the issues that affect how Policing is done.”
“For instance, the way you police the Ajegunle area in Lagos is different from the way you police Ikoyi ,because Police is about people, language and culture. Therefore, the Police should align itself within the environment.
“By extension the Police PROs who speak for the Police , who work on the image of the police and defend the indefensible, sometimes need to be in line with what happens in the society and to know the moods and attitudes of the people .
“Another thing is strategic communication itself, vis a vis the internal environment where you have the Police management which include the IGP, senior officers, Commissioners of Police and other ranks who are the real policemen, in the theatre of policing. How do we communicate with them and get back feedback from them? I do believe the take home from here is to learn how to better communicate with the internal public.”
On his part, the Programme Officer, CLEEN Foundation, Mr. Olaniyi Olumayowa, explained that the intent for organising the training, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, and the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, is to “retrain PROs across the country on strategic communication. From understating, we know there seems to be a lot of gap when it comes to strategic communication and we emphasised the need for the police to adopt strategic communication when it comes to both the internal and external environment they work with. I think another take away is the new media and for them to incorporate new methods into what they do”.
Also speaking, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the training was the first phase, which captured Police PROs from the Southern part of the country, adding that in two weeks the second phase, which would be for those in the Northern part of the country, would hold in Kano State.
The essence of the training, according to the FPRO, was to actualise the road map of the Federal Government in having an effective Police reform, as well as to enhance effective communication within and outside the police family.
He said: “We want members of the Police Force to be informed of what is going on, to be abreast with what is happening in the Police, as we even disseminate the same to members of the public.
“We discover that when we give any directive, most of our men on the field don’t always have this information and we think we are working on different pages, which is not supposed to be. We are designing a communication mechanism , so that members of the Police Force will be at the front of any happening , as much as we give the same to members of the public”.