Duties of the Nigerian Police (NP) are crucial to the security of the people. The Nigerian Police is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria. With a staff count of about 371,800, there are many functions of the Nigerian Police and ranks of the Nigerian Police. The NP is a very large organization consisting of 36 State commands grouped into 12 zones and 7 administrative bodies. There’s more to the supposed friends of the nation that the regular civilian does not know, therefore they tend to accept whatever they are exposed to. It is not to be, as civilians we must be informed on the rights and wrongs of the police force. Though the law doesn’t function properly, we can only find out how it once worked and how it ought to work.
History of the Nigerian Police
The history of the Nigerian Police dates to 1820. The first highest ranking officer in all police force was Commissioner-General Colonel KK. 1879 saw the formation of a 1,200-member armed paramilitary Hausa Constabulary. Further, in 1896, the Lagos Police was established in Calabar in 1894 under the Niger Coast Protectorate, a force similar to the Lagos Police called the Niger Coast Constabulary, was formed. The North witnessed the setup of the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888 with headquarters by the Royal Niger company. When protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, part of the Royal Niger Company Constabulary became the Northern Nigeria Police, Niger Coast Constabulary became the Southern Nigeria Police. During the colonial period, most police were mainly associated with local governments seen as native authorities. In the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalised and then nationalised.
According to Wikipedia, the NPF performed conventional police functions and was responsible for internal security generally; for supporting the prison, immigration, and customs services; and for performing military duties within or outside Nigeria as directed. Plans were announced in mid-1980 to expand the force to 200,000. By 1983, according to the federal budget, the strength of the NPF was almost 152,000, but other sources estimated it to be between 20,000 and 80,000. Reportedly, there were more than 1,300 police stations nationwide. Police officers were not usually armed but were issued weapons when required for specific missions or circumstances. They were often deployed throughout the country, but in 1989 Babangida announced that a larger number of officers would be posted to their native areas to facilitate police- community relations.
Functions and Duties of the Nigerian Police
Police is your friend and as friends to the people, there are duties to uphold. These duties require that they serve various functions that should ensure all-around security for the people. These duties and functions include:
Enforcement of Laws and Regulations
In life there are rules. There are various forms of rules, moral rules, school rules, hospital rules and more. Rules guide the actions of individuals within jurisdictions in which these rules apply. Rules that govern a nation are called laws. Without laws, the country will be a chaotic place to be. No laws will lead to nothing being a crime. Laws are there to checkmate the individual difference that affects morals and ethics. As a police force, it is the duty and a function of the Nigerian Police to enforce the laws and regulations of the land. This is done by ensuring citizens obey the law through legal and approved means.
Crime Prevention and Detection
Prevention is always better than cure. The police force owes it to the citizens to be observant, intelligent and attentive, as this will enable them to prevent crime from taking place. Also, it is crucial that they detect crime taking place or has taken place for justice to be served. However, the Nigerian police can only enforce laws charged to it or are within the limits of its power.
Protection of Lives and Properties
It is the duty of the Nigerian police to protect the lives and properties of the people. The people are to feel safe and not threatened at the sight of the police. The police station ought to be the safest place for the oppressed and innocent, and even the criminal. With the power and tools provided them, the Nigerian police is to protect lives and their properties from any form of harm. Officers can do this by strategic placement of police squads and persons in locations. Police escorts are also stationed to Banks and having police stations in every community.
Maintenance of Law and Order
- Officers are to maintain law and order by enforcing the law and regulating societal activities. Active presence and efficient performance by the Nigerian police should serve as a deterrent to criminals. All other duties must be continually and consistently performed to maintain law and order.
Nigerian Police Ranks
In every institution, there is a hierarchy. The Nigerian police has a hierarchy of its own which should run on merit and years of service. It is a system where entry level depends on your level of training and promotion is based on other categories. Some officers in their required years of service never make it to the top rank, however, some do. Nigerian police ranks are as follows.
Inspector General of Police
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) is the head of the Nigeria Police Force and the most senior officer in the police service.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police
The Deputy Inspector General of Police is the second highest ranking officer in the police force.
Assistant Inspector-General of Police
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police is the third highest ranking officer, falling right below the Deputy Inspector-General of Police.
Commissioner of Police
This high-ranking officer is responsible for the totality of policing. They aim to reduce the rate of crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their area of jurisdiction.
Deputy Commissioner of Police
Assistant Commissioner of Police
The Assistant Commissioner of Police is responsible for setting force policy and managing related headquarters branches.
Chief Superintendent of Police
The detective Chief Superintendent of Police (DCS) is the senior detective and commander of the criminal investigation department in most forces. In other words, the DCS is the most senior officer at local or departmental level. They are responsible for setting strategy, standards and operational policy
Superintendent of Police (SP)
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP)
This rank supersedes the ASP but falls below superintendent of police. It is the equivalent of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP)
The rank is above inspector (chief inspector) and below superintendent.
Inspector of Police
the Inspector of Police is the second supervisory rank. It is senior to that of sergeant but junior to that of chief inspector
The corporal is a police rank of which the officer is responsible for supervision and training of police officers. The corporal assumes the position of the sergeant when on the streets or in the absence of his superior.
Constable is the lowest rank in the Nigerian police force. To become a constable in Nigeria, you must have a minimum of 5 credits within 2 sittings with passes in mathematics and English, as educational requirements.