IGP urges PPROs to revive social content in image handling
POLICE Public Relations Officers (PPROs) in the country must accept and exploit criticisms to enhance their performance wherever they operate, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, has said
They should as well revive the concept of “social content” in managing the image of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in the zonal and state commands, Arase added yesterday in Abuja at the opening of a workshop for the PPROs of the 12 zonal and 36 state commands.
He urged them to accept criticisms, especially from the media, as motivation for enhanced performance, as this may be an identified loophole that needed to be filled than hatred for the agency. He noted that communities should be adequately informed and carried along on issues, especially where there are misconceptions or misrepresentations.
“It is not necessary to write rejoinders all the time,” he stated. “Once you are proactive, and are able to articulate the views of the force management and your command, all these issues of constantly trying to explain your action or inaction will not be necessary.
“I don’t want you to be averse to criticism, criticisms are good for you, they make you look at yourself and aspire to higher standards. When journalists criticise you, they want you to see how you can better your performances.
“In Nigeria, virtually everybody is a security consultant or expert even when they are neophytes in security management, but you still have to reach out to them and explain those issues that they don’t understand. You are not supposed to quarrel with them, you are supposed to be friends with them.”
Arase said that managing the police image could be easier through regular interactive sessions with a selected segment of the communities, through whom better relationship with the publics would be re-established. This, he noted, is the main thrust of his administration and needs to be revived.
“You must reach out to members of your community. I will expect that as public relations officers, like we used to do in times past, go to secondary schools and higher institutions to talk to them of things like the disadvantages of cultism, drug abuse, kidnapping and criminal gangs to dissuade them from these things,” he added.
“You should be able to reach out to non-state actors in your various locations. Nothing prevents you from organising town hall meetings, bringing the mechanics, students union bodies, even market women together and explaining to them what the policy thrust of this administration is all about.
“There is a social content to policing, and I would expect that as public relations officers, at least once a month you should reach out to the journalists in your location. Invite them to the mess, tell them what your state or zone is doing. That social content of policing must be established in the Nigeria Police.
“You must be able to connect with the community. There is no police force in the world that can perform or carry out its mandate without connecting with the community.”