Federal interventions were centred on improving the accountability of the National Police Force (NPF) to statutory bodies, such as the Police Service Commission (PSC), Public Complaints Commission (PCC), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Ministry of Interior and appropriate non-statutory Oversight Bodies such as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Take a look at the Background and Theory of Change to better situate the Federal-Level Interventions within the J4A programme.
J4A supported and worked with oversight bodies on redesign and capacity building of complaints processes and systems. In supporting these changes:
- A Steering Committee was set up at the inception of the project to provide a platform for joint coordination by the Oversight Bodies. This was aimed at enhancing resource utilization and ensuring that oversight bodies are aligned to their mandates;
- Quarterly meetings hosted by the NHRC were set up as a platform to coordinate issues impinging on the effectiveness of the NPF, to deliberate on solutions and implement all or some of them. Representations at the quarterly meetings initially were limited to the PSC, PCC, NHRC, NPF and some NGOs. Over time the membership has expanded to include the Legal Aid Council, Ministry of Justice, Legal Reform Commission, Nigeria Bar Association and the CSO participation has also been expanded to include groups such as Amnesty, and Human Rights Watch;
- Public Hearings / Town Hall Meetings: specific forums where members of the public could lodge complaints about the NPF freely and without fear. Civil society groups were able to make contributions. The NPF were represented and gave feedback to the public. These public hearings evolved to include the availability of the social media space and the radio as public platforms that are utilized for the coordinating public hearings such as the ‘stopthebribes’ platform and the Brekete Radio Programme.
- Bi-lateral Meetings: took place between the NPF and CSOs based on issues relating to police conduct. The bilateral meetings provided an opportunity for the proactive handling of issues of concern to either party. Over time, bilateral meetings became more frequent and had significant impact both at the federal and state levels. As a result the relationship between the NPF and CSOs improved.
- Better coordination among the Oversight Bodies through the institutionalization of the Steering Committee resulted in a referral system capable of ensuring that complaints could be sent to the appropriate agency, and allowed quicker follow up on referred complaints.
- The Oversight Bodies through this coordination continuously improved the process e.g. PCC, PSC and NHRC agreed on protocols as to how these interventions fit into the respective mandates of the organisations.
- Process mapping in the PSC was adapted to suit the evolving process of handling public complaints. The NHRC, though not trained on process mapping, has adapted the template developed for the PSC and continues to use it to coordinate its processes at its HQ.
- A total of 12 public hearings took place. The Inspector General of Police was actively involved in the process.
- They provided the opportunity for engagement between the police, Police Service Commission (PSC) and members of the public.
- Public hearings evolved into town hall meetings and later to radio call-in programmes.
- For the radio call-in programmes, engagement with the police spread across other states including Nasarawa, Enugu and Lagos to mention but a few.
- Police started sending representatives regularly to the call-in programs, including providing feedback on the issues raised.
- A total of 41 Quarterly and Bilateral Meetings were held. CSOs interaction with the police extended beyond lodging complaints, it involved planning and coordination in relation to election security; review of the police bill; identifying issues that mitigate against police effectiveness.
- Due to the impact of the activities the PSC gave priority to public complaints by setting up the Public Complaints Committee. The Committee received over 90 complaints, and now investigates complaints without referring to the police.
- Bilateral meetings have opened up opportunities for other activities, such as Community Safety Partnership Forums and Sexual Assault Response Centres, in some of the states in the southeast.
- Bi-lateral meetings strengthened CSO partnership with the police, a good example of which is the joint work reviewing the Police Act.
- The Strategic Committee in the PSC recommended that the Gender and Domestic Violence Policies developed by the Commission should be implemented and enforced.
- The Public Hearings were viewed as a periodic engagement, which was seen as unbiased, and as a result improved the relationship between the police and the public.
- The NPF developed a complaint management system with the establishment of a Police Complaints Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU). This was tasked to deploy multiplatform reporting mechanisms through which citizens’ complaints, concerns and queries regarding policing activities could be addressed in real time, twenty-four hours a day (including weekends and public holidays). The NPF-PCRRU was the first of its kind by any police organization in Sub-Saharan Africa and was aimed at raising the level of NPF accountability. Rather than members of the public having to travel in person to their local police station to make a complaint against a member of the NPF they were able to contact the PCRRU 24/7 call centre, which coordinated the deployment of local ‘first point of contact’ officers to receive complaints and initiate investigation.
- On-going disciplinary action against rank and file and seniors members of the NPF.
- Redeployment of several officers of different cadres from their duty posts. One particular Police Command redeployed all Divisional Police Officers (DPO).
- 16 officers -inspectors and rank and file are undergoing departmental disciplinary actions in various Commands.
- NPF PCRRU have distributed information flyers in English, Pidgin-English and local languages (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) to all 774 Local Government Areas and FCT’s 6 Area Councils.
- During the 2016 calendar year, the NPF PCRRU dealt with 3187 complaints resolving 2658 of them. A further 338 were adjudged to be false.
Strengthening strategy at the Federal level:
J4A assisted the NPF in the development of 11 Strategic Plans that supported the police reform agenda and provided technical advice on their implementation. All of the strategies were formally adopted. J4A assisted in the rollout of the Community Based Policing (CBP) and Intelligence Led Policing strategies across three States. These strategies were accompanied by an NPF leadership development programme and NPF strategy development courses, which helped with the strategy development and implementation process.