Inspector General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase has said that stun guns will soon be introduced as part of efforts to reduce casualties associated with misuse of firearms by police officers.
He added that the police management was considering swapping officers, who have stayed more than three months in the Northeast to avoid deterioration of their health.
Arase spoke in Abuja when he met with senior police officers to brainstorm on the roadmap for the year.
He said the meeting was to focus on the rate of kidnapping nationwide, deployment of personnel and logistics towards the restoration of civil authority in areas liberated from terror elements in the Northeast, cattle rustling and robbery and other organised crimes.
On the introduction of stun guns, the IGP said: “Right now, what we are trying to do is to discourage issuing firearms to police officers, who go on metro patrol. And that is why we are thinking of introducing stun guns this year.
“Stun guns can incapacitate you, demobilise you, but they will not kill you. So, in case there is a mistake, then we will be able to ensure that the fatality is not such that will result in death.
“It is also true that from statistics we have internal mechanisms for dealing with people who engage in misuse of firearms and I must tell you that many of them have been dismissed. But it is not every day you will see it on the pages of the paper that they have been dismissed.”
Arase admitted that the increasing rate of kidnapping was a challenge to the police.
On kidnapping, he said: “In my opening remark, I mentioned that we have serious challenges with kidnapping in some areas in the country because it is not all over the country and once these things happen, the way the press publicises it gives the impression that there is a near state of anomie; but this is not true.”
The police boss explained that the robbers in Lagos have taken to kidnapping.
He said: “We have a new challenge now in Lagos because after we have been able to mop up the bank robbers that come from the waterways, it looks as if they have found a new vocation in kidnapping, especially in Festac and Amuwo Odofin.
“We are addressing those issues and I can assure you that those people will be caught. It takes time though; you know crime is always committed but the indomitable fighting spirit of the police force has to be strengthened and that is what we are trying to do.
“Also, the supervisory role of the commissioners of police, divisional commanders, area commanders must be strengthened because I think that is where we are having a gap and I can assure you that we will make sure that we resolve it.”
On promotion of officers in the Northeast, Arase said: “Sometimes, it is impossible to promote everybody due to the vacancy that we have. They are going to be promoted.
“We are thinking of having a police week this year and we have started compiling names of people, who we will honour and give medals as a form of appreciation for what they are doing and about their allowances. Yes, it is true that the state governments are in breach, but you can also appreciate that the state governments have also been facing financial challenges too.
“When I visited the Northeast, I appealed to them that the backlog of the allowances be paid so that the men there are not discouraged. At the management level, we have also decided that because of the psychological trauma associated with staying in that area for so long, we should start thinking of giving timelines and swapping them so that they don’t overstay in that area which will lead to the depreciation of their health and it will in turn lead to fatalities.”