The First Republic Constitution of 1963 recognised and established a Federal Police Service Commission. This body is responsible for recruitment, promotion, discipline and dismissal of members of the force. The police is seen as a paramilitary and a department of the executive arm of government. The Nigeria Police Force is under the control of the president of the country. The overall head of the police force in Nigeria is the Inspector General of Police and at the state level, a Commissioner of Police is in charge.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE POLICE FORCE
- The Inspector General of Police: He is the overall head of the police force. People who join the force occupying these posts are mostly graduates cadet officers, but can equally be promoted to this position from the order rank. There is also Deputy Inspector General of Police.
- Commissioner of Police: He is in charge of the police affairs in the state. Many of them are graduates (cadet officers) and this position may also be attained through regular training and promotion. They report to the Inspector-General of police.
- There are officers of different grades or ranks: Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chief Commissioner of Police, Chief Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police, etc. They are also graduates from universities but can equally graduate to this level through promotion and training.
- The Inspector of Police: Other subordinate ranks to the Inspector of Police are Staff Sergeant, Sergeant, Corporals, etc. The inspectors of police are holders of advanced level certificate, some are also graduates while other ranks below these are school certificate holders.
- The Constables: They are mostly school certificate holders. This is the lowest rank in the force.
FUNCTIONS OF THE POLICE FORCE
- Protection of lives and property: This is the primary function of the police force.
- Crime prevention: The police are involved in preventing crime in the society.
- Maintenance of law and order in the society: This is done whenever there is outbreak of lawlessness for example violent demonstration, rioting, etc.
- Detection and apprehension of suspected criminals: The police have to investigate and detect criminal activities and be out to apprehend them, as long as, they remain threats to lives and property.
- Prosecution of minor cases: They can prosecute minor cases, e.g. fighting, and quarrelling.
- Traffic control: They help in controlling and regulating movements of vehicles and in the process traffic congestion and accidents. etc, are avoided.
- Investigation: They investigate criminal cases, causes of crimes like murder, arson, etc and they take necessary measures to apprehend the suspects, The Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D) of the force is involved in this.
PROBLEMS/FAILURES OF THE POLICE FORCE
- Not properly equipped: The police is not properly equiped with modern gadgets in crime detection.
- Bribery and corruption: It is a cankerworm that has eaten deep in the force.
- Aiding and abetting crime: The police has been accused on several occasions of aiding and abetting crime in the society. For example, they supply arms to robbers.
- Criminal acts: Some of them are also involved in criminal activities.
- Poor condition of service: The condition of service and remunerations in terms of salary, fringe benefits, etc,are poor.
- Poor facilities: Facilities meant to enhance efficient and adequate training are not available.
- Poor funding: The police is poorly funded by the government. This can affect performance.
- Inadequate personnel: The number of men and women in the force is still very low compared to the population of the country.