As part of measures to halt the spate of killings and kidnappings in the southern part of the country, the police authorities have concluded plan to scale up the numerical strength of the force by injecting 40,000 part-time constables into the system.
As a result, the recruitment of the constables will begin in August, according to findings by Saturday PUNCH.
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, who confirmed the development, explained that at least 50 persons would be recruited from each of the 774 local government areas in the country, adding that the recruitment exercise might kick off in August.
As part of measures to check rising insecurity in the face of insufficient manpower in Nigeria’s police force, the Force had in May concluded plans to engage thousands of Special Constables to work with conventional policemen in communities.
The police had presented the idea to the state governors who were said to have bought into the scheme.
The men, who will not be armed, are expected to handle charge room and administrative duties, crowd control, accident scene duties, alternative dispute resolution and other less sensitive and less risky functions.
They are expected to dress in police uniform but with a different force number to distinguish them from the regular cops.
It was learnt that respectable members of the society like pastors, imams, teachers, lawyers, journalists and youths would be considered for the volunteer job.
The constables, after receiving training in police colleges, will work on a part-time basis with regular policemen, he said, adding that this would free up more police manpower to deal with serious operation and other security issues.
Mba stated, “Our focus is to pursue a technologically-driven Police Force to reduce the number of policemen on the road.
So, we have decided to introduce the special constabulary system which involves the recruitment of voluntary citizens to work as part-time policemen.
“They would be recruited from their immediate constituency where they would work with the conventional policemen.
The Nigerian Police Force currently have over 300,000 policemen out of which significant number are guarding political officer holders and VIPs.
Meanwhile, Mba told Saturday PUNCH on Friday that the police had prepared a new operational order targeted at addressing the current insecurity situation in the country.
According to him, it involves the deployment of more personnel, as well as helicopters, drones, technical platform and other special equipment in the South-West, South-East and South-South regions.
Already, about 100 patrol vehicles have been acquired and are being customised with various communication gadgets and equipment to enhance the counter-kidnapping operation.
Speaking on the new counter-kidnapping operational order, Mba said, “It involves the deployment of special operatives and operational assets, including special equipment, helicopters and drones in the South-West, South-East and South-South regions to replicate the successes we have achieved in the North-West where kidnappings and killings have been checkmated by the police.”
The spokesman assured that Nigerians would, in the coming weeks, see the difference in the security situation in the South, adding that the security on the highways would also be re-jigged.
He explained further that there would be increased supervision of police operatives deployed for the counter-kidnapping operation, noting that the security system being put in place would be water-tight.
Mba added, “In the next couple of weeks, Nigerians would see the difference in the security system in the South as we ramp up our security system and take the battle to the criminals terrorising innocent citizens.”
Asked about the number of operatives that may be involved in the special operations, Mba declined, saying he would not disclose this for strategic reasons.
To strengthen the new operation, the police spokesman said they would partner with state governments in the region to ensure its success.
He said the arrangement to deploy helicopters and drones in the South-West would take priority as search for kidnappers and killer herdsmen continues.
The police will initially focus on Ondo forests as search for the killers of Mrs Funke Olakunri, the daughter of Afenifere leader, pa Reuben Fasoranti, continues.