The Acting Inspector-General of police, Kayode Egbetokun on Wednesday, inaugurated the first Complaints Response Unit, CRU, in the Police Command Ikeja, Lagos.
Mr Egbetokun said the purpose of the CRU was to create a conducive platform of interaction between the police and the public, particularly on the unprofessional conduct of the officers. The unit will afford members of the public an opportunity to make complaints and seek redress as individuals and groups against police misconduct and human rights abuses.
Mr Egbetokun, who commended the command for complying with his directive, pointed out that the directive was from Section 131 of the Police Act of 2020, which gave power to the IGP to establish such a unit in all states. He noted that the CRU was not established to witch-hunt any police officer but to promote accountability in the police.
“It is going to enhance police-community collaboration and build confidence with members of the public,” he said. He appealed to the public to supply the police with information, stressing that the police would also show transparency so as to get cooperation from the public.
Mr Egbetokun advised the public to desist from reporting police misconduct on social media. “Officers who are going to man the CRU are going to be carefully selected, they are going to be officers with impeccable integrity. “They will be trained and be given regular training, including opportunity for overseas training. “If the police is able to deliver on their constitutional mandate, we will all benefit from it,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Idowu Owohunwa, said that the command had taken the lead in establishing the state CRU as a framework for promoting Police-Citizens’ accountability.
“Their rights will be fully asserted, if their dignity is also violated or false and malicious information passed against them by misguided members of the public in the line of their official engagements. “The establishment of the center is, from all intents and purposes, a fulfillment of statutory provisions that is intended to enhance police accountability and engender professional police service delivery, rather than witch–hunt or unduly malign our dutiful officers,” he said.
Mr Owohunwa said the unit had applications for e-crime reporting, which enabled citizens to report crimes from the comfort of their homes or offices without necessarily coming physically to the police stations. He said the internal security space in recent times, had been laced with threats of cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping, murder and Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
“We are also constantly confronted with the challenge of dissecting and dealing with the thin line between the civil and criminal dynamics of land disputes which are also prevalent in the state.