Police move to check misuse of firearms
In a bid to check incessant cases of police misconduct and mishandling of firearms, the leadership of the Nigerian police has directed that all policemen before being issued with any lethal weapon must be subjected to snap urine test for signs of drug abuse.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, gave the directive yesterday in Abuja at the launch of drug testing of police officers and campaign against sudden death of Police Officers that Policemen that fails the test would have their guns retrieved from them and subjected to a short process of rehabilitation to detach from drugs that may trigger such behavior.
He said the frequency with which members of the public cast aspersions on the police force was hinged on the “relatively frequent cases of death of members of the public from misapplication of lethal weapons”, stimulated largely by such emotional or psychological diatribes.
“Apart from retrieving guns from officers who fail the snap test, we will provide appropriate help to wean from drug”, he noted.
Arase said an in depth study of the trend revealed that some of the cases were owing to mishandling of firearms by police officers who are psychologically unfit to handle firearms at the particular time. “Some of these psychological problems could also have resulted from drug abuse by few of our men.
“We have therefore decided that the medical assessment of persons we recruit into the police force will include a psychological assessment. In addition, effective immediately we will carry out snap urine tests for signs of drug abuse on all policemen before we issue any lethal weapons to them or at their operational points.”
The IGP said the new policing strategy initiated by his administration is to ensure the transition from exclusive reliance on lethal weapons in management of threats and social disorders to the use of less lethal technologies like stun guns.
Besides this, the issue of sudden death in the police due to non-communicable chronic ailments needs immediate attention, as Arase ordered that there should be mass screening of all officers immediately.
He said the issue of sudden death of police officers due to preventable or avoidable health related challenges like diabetes, mellitus and hypertension, led to the directive he issued to the medical section of the police to commence the screening of all officers for chronic non-communicable diseases, “we are encouraging change in lifestyles and diet for our men. ‘’
encourage all our men to come forward for health screening”, Arase charged.