Barely a week after assuming duties, the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi, on Friday held a Town Hall meeting with residents with a promise to make Lagos the most peaceful state in the country.
“My mission is to introduce my policing plan and ask for your cooperation in restoring safety to Lagos and make it the most peaceful state to do business on the African continent,’’ Imohimi told Ogba community in Ikeja area of Lagos.
To this end, the police commisioner has sought the support of members of the public toward an effective community policing.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Imohimi, until his appointment a Deputy Commissioner at the state command, took over from Fatai Owoseni last week.
The police chief said effective community policing could be achieved through the partnership of residents of the various communities.
He said: “A partnership that involves participation of every stakeholder. Henceforth, the people will decide the security structure, while the police will only execute.
“Community policing will be adopted because the people know their community more. It is wrong for the police to think they know your community more than you.
“Functional partnership is key to ensuring that the neighbourhoods are safe especially at night. Community policing is both proactive and reactive as it depends largely on the intelligence to prevent crime.”
Imohimi noted that some people had “given up” on the police because of lack of trust, saying he is out to build that trust.
He added: “Many things have gone wrong, but I want you to give us a chance to bring back that trust.’’
Imohimi directed Area Commanders and Divisional Police officers to support Community Development Associations by holding meetings with them regularly to decide how they want to be policed.
The police commissioner, who recalled how the gate of a community was locked against some members, who had refused to pay security levy, said DPOs would support CDAs to enforce such disciplinary measures.
Imohimi said: “We will also set up vigilance groups in the local governments. They will be active at night between 11pm and 5am and they will work closely with the police to make sure they operate in compliance with the law.
“All vigilance groups must, however, be registered with the police where they will be profiled but they will not be licensed to carry arms.
“We want neighbourhoods to take interest in this. I don’t want complaints of robberies anymore. Although, my men cannot cover everywhere, you can help by directing my men to the right direction.
“I appeal to you to have confidence in the police. Though, we have our problem but part of it rests with you.
“Some people have made up their mind that nothing good can come from the police.
“The only thing that is constant is change and that is I want you to try me and you will witness significant reduction of crime in the state.”